End of the Bush Fire Season

Published: 1st April 2010

Emergency Services Minister Steve Whan has announced that the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) formally declared an end to the 2009/10 bush fire season at midnight last night.

Minister Whan said that the newly implemented national changes made to Fire Danger Ratings and Alert Levels helped to keep residents safe during the bush fire season.

“By introducing the new nationally-agreed Fire Danger Rating and warning systems we helped people make informed decisions about what was best for them and their families during bush fires,” said Mr Whan.

The Minister said that the highest priority during any bush fire is the protection of life and it was critical that people were both well prepared and well informed.

“This year’s Prepare, Act, Survive public awareness campaign placed a clear emphasis on remaining alert and having a bush fire survival plan during fire danger periods.

“This season the NSW Rural Fire Service tripled its call taking capacity and upgraded its online communications to ensure the NSW community remained better informed about bush fire activity.”

Since the start of the official fire season in October 2009, RFS volunteers along with NSW Fire Brigades and National Parks and Wildlife Service have attended over 9,000 incidents across the State including 43 major bush fire emergencies resulting in two Emergency Alerts being issued.

“The upgraded RFS public communication channels meant more people could access accurate and up to date bush fire information instantly,” he said.

“As well as providing details on fires the RFS website and information line also provided details on total fire bans and advice on bush fire preparation. Major Fire Updates were also issued via Twitter and Facebook to help it reach a wider audience,” said Mr Whan.

RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said that the need for the public to have access to accurate and timely information on fires was one of the most important lessons learned from last year’s tragic Victorian bush fires.

Minister Whan also thanked the State’s fire fighters for their unwavering commitment and dedication throughout the bush fire season.