Central Australian fire season commencement

Bushfires NT today joined the Northern Territory Fire and Rescue Service at their Alice Springs headquarters to announce the commencement of the 2019 Central Australian Fire Danger Period, marking the official start of the fire season.

Acting Chief Fire Control Officer, Joshua Fischer (Bushfires NT) said all landholders need to be prepared for bushfire, and if they haven't already done so, to ensure they plan and prepare now.

"Landholders working together to reduce bushfire risk by implementing their fire management plan is absolutely essential," Mr Fischer said.

"We have already seen fires in the Lasseter Region recently, and although there is reduced fuel loads due to the ongoing dry conditions, fires moved quickly and presented challenges to fire crews working to contain them.

"The Northern Territory is expecting normal bushfire potential this central Australian fire season, however, significant bushfires have occurred in similar conditions, and even areas of normal fire potential can expect to experience dangerous bushfires.

"This will be particularly relevant in areas that surround unmanaged land with remanent vegetation growth, particularly remote communities and outstations.

"Bushfires NT has prepared for this fire season by partnering and engaging with landowners across central Australia to identify and where possible mitigate bushfire risk.

"This included fuel reduction activity undertaken along and near Alice Springs iconic rivers, in accordance with the Lhere Mparntwe Management Strategy."

It's important that the community know how to source and understand the three levels of warnings and what they mean.

The three levels of warnings are Advice, Watch and Act and Emergency Warning. Do not expect warnings to be issued in any particular order, the first warning you could get could be an Emergency Warning.

"We warn the community through a variety of ways, including online, social media and ABC local radio, commercial and designated community radio stations," Mr Fischer said.

"If you do hear a warning, stay calm, stop what you are doing and pay attention.

"If you don't understand the warning, get someone to explain by asking neighbours or friends, keep in contact with family members, make sure they know what is happening and what you plan to do and stay informed, keep listening for more information in case the situation changes."

NTFRS District Officer Jim Bateman said it is vital that landholders communicate their fire plans with people living and working on their property so everyone knows what to do and who to contact in the event of a fire.

"Managing risks is key to good planning and preparation," DO Bateman said.

"Landholders need to develop a bushfire plan, reduce grass and shrub growth from around your home and buildings, make sure all firefighting equipment is in good working order and that fire access trails within your property are clear and usable to allow firefighting appliances clear and safe access."

NTFRS and BFNT have an excellent working relationship and will be working closely to ensure that any outbreak of fire is dealt with in a co-ordinated manner.

People should call 000 in an emergency and if you see, hear or know about suspicious activity relating to illegal fires then call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Go to nt.gov.au/bushfires for more information about Bushfires NT or pfes.nt.gov.au/Fire-and-Rescue.aspx for more information about the NTFRS.

For the latest information on fires and warnings visit pfes.nt.gov.au/fire-and-rescue-service/fire-incident-map or follow Bushfires NT on Facebook.

Last updated: 31 January 2020

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