Weather and Fire Risk Assessments

I’ve been up since 4:30am trying my hardest not to disturb Stuart. I’m sitting here now at 7am having completed 3 rows of the blanket (400 stitches per row); having watched the dawn; having watched the hill fog be burnt off; enjoying the cool off another morning knowing that today is forecast to be 30°C and unlike the BBC and the UK’s met office, the Australian meteorical bureau tend to be pretty accurate about the weather.

  • Partly cloudy they say: check
  • The chance of fog in the east early this morning: check
  • Medium chance of showers, most likely this afternoon: watch this space
  • The chance of a thunderstorm: we’ll wait and see
  • Light winds…: check
  • …becoming west to northwesterly… :  check
  • …15-20kph in the morning…: ?
  • …then becoming light again in the late afternoon: a case of later…
  • Daytime maximum temperatures around 30°C
  • 90% chance of rain: ?
  • 1-5mm rain: ?
  • Pollen high: definitely
  • UV alert extreme 7:30am- 6:00pm: very likely
  • Fire risk is moderate: that’s actually the lowest level!

All of this is in a little table…

_20161120_073557

The fire risk level has an interesting scale. It starts at ‘moderate’ which is the lowest level! Next comes ‘high’, then ‘very high’, followed by ‘severe’ which ironically is something like 2 levels below the highest level! ‘Extreme’ comes next and finally ‘catastrophic’. If you are around for the last one, you are in the wrong place!

_20161120_081808

_20161120_082044

When we were talking to the NSW Rural Fire Service at an open day of theirs about a month ago, the also mentioned one of their key rules to us. If the wind speed is over 30kph, the temperature above 30°C and humidity below 30% you have a major fire risk. We were also able to discuss with them our options and which direction fires are most likely to come from. Sadly this happens to be our only escape route so we talked with them about our options and they are basically leave it there is a fire.

So we have a fire plan.  We (almost) have an overnight suitcase (sorry its not a bag) packed and useful things like passports are all in one place to grab.  The car has 24 hours of my medication in it normally, but if I get the opportunity I can put together another kit for the suitcase.  Something more sensible along with a copy of my repeat prescriptions and the only other things we can do is to minimise the amount of burnable debris around the place.  We have been busy racking fallen twigs, leaves and autumn debris up and moving it well away from the house.  Under the house has been cleaned out because there is no point in fuelling a fire under the house and we have 2 fire plans available.  One is a getting out of the area plan and the other is an emergency ‘what the heck happened’ plan which is a worst case scenario.  We have the emergency radio (AM/FM battery operated radio for tuning into 666 which is the emergency frequency) and we have the P2 masks available to us.  We ideally need to source a P3 grade mask (this is the level of what it filters out of the air) for at least me due to my asthma but that is proving rather harder.  We area almost as prepared as we can be.

The fire season has been put back to the end of this month.

Leave a Reply