Victorians to get daily fire rating updates

By Rob O’Brien

Victorians will be given clear advice about what actions to take in advance of a fire threat, under a new national fire danger rating system, the Premier, John Brumby, announced today.

Under the new six-tiered national Fire Danger Rating system, Victorians will receive advance warning and clear directions to best preserve human life in the face of a fire threat.

The Bureau of Meteorology will declare in advance the Fire Danger Rating for each day and in each weather district in consultation with fire agencies.

“Our Government has adopted the new nationally agreed Fire Danger Rating scale to help individuals and communities to understand the fire risk in their area on any given day," Brumby said.

“Clear warnings and clear directions are the best possible protection for Victorians in the face of a fire threat.

“The new Fire Danger Rating system provides clear direction on the safest options for preserving life, depending on the fire danger rating for a given day.”

Brumby said the predicted Fire Danger Index would remain crucial to the warnings provided under the Fire Danger Rating.

Every day during the fire season, the Bureau of Meteorology forecasts an outlook of the Fire Danger Index, by considering the predicted weather, including temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and dryness of vegetation.

Having projected the Fire Danger Index, the Bureau of Meteorology will then consult with fire agencies to determine the Fire Danger Rating for any given day.

Brumby said conditions such as those on Black Saturday would attract the highest Fire Danger Rating – Code Red (Catastrophic).

“The clear direction to people in bushfire prone areas on a Code Red (Catastrophic) day is that the safest option is to leave the night before or early in the morning,” Brumby said.

“A Code Red (Catastrophic) day will also carry the warning that: people may die or be injured; thousands of homes or businesses may be destroyed; and well prepared, well constructed homes may not be safe during a fire.”

Brumby said the key to being as fire-safe and as fire-ready as possible was to take the time to plan ahead for the bushfire season.

Key actions Victorians should undertake now, ahead of the bushfire season, include:

•    Establishing a Bushfire Survival Plan, including options for relocation;
•    Receiving and following a Fire Ready kit;
•    Cleaning up property; and
•    Getting involved in local fire preparation activities.

“Preparation and taking the right actions are critical to surviving a fire threat,” Brumby said.

“It is crucial the lessons of the Gippsland fires and Black Saturday remain fresh in the minds of all Victorians.

“The task for us all is to work together to be as fire-safe and as fire-ready as possible, to protect lives in a fire season that’s shaping up to be every bit as bad or worse than the season we’ve just experienced.”

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