Bushfires are a natural, essential and complex part of the Australian environment and have been for thousands of years. Bushfires can significantly impact on lives, property and the environment.
The science of bushfires
Information about the science that leads up to the start of a bushfire and what conditions make the environment at risk for a bushfire come from a number of sources, including forestry management, land management and fire ecology.
Geoscience Australia provides information on the science of bushfires, as well as research reports and capability information.
Visit the Bureau of Meteorology's Fire Weather Knowledge Centre
Being safe in an area where bushfires occur
Under Australia's emergency management arrangements, state and territory organisations are the primary agencies responsible for bushfire safety. Typically, these responsibilities rest with the State Emergency Services or combined emergency service agencies. The links below provide information from relevant agencies in states and territories that are regularly affected by cyclones.
Australian Capital Territory
A Bushfire Survival Plan helps you make important decisions before you are threatened by a bushfire. Your plan will help protect the lives of your family and assist you in preparing your home to survive the threat of bushfire.
New South Wales
If you live even close to bushland, you're at risk of bushfire. Bushland can also mean areas such as scrub, grassland, crops, woodland and farmland.
Some areas of the Northern Territory are prone to bushfires. In the event that there is a bushfire near you during your visit to the Northern Territory, stay tuned to local radio for bushfire information and warning, and be sure to heed all advice broadcast by emergency services.
You don't have to live in the bush to be threatened by bushfire - you just have to be close enough to be affected by burning material, embers and smoke. All Queenslanders should be familiar with the official bushfire warning levels and have a completed bushfire survival plan for action. When there's a bushfire in your area, it's your responsibility to take notice, seek information, make decisions and act.
Knowing what you need to do to prepare your home and property for bushfire is essential for the safety of you and your family. Even if your plan is to leave well before a bushfire threatens, you can never fully predict what may happen that prevents your leaving. To be forced to stay and defend when you have not prepared could well cost you your life.
If you live in or near the bush, your home is at risk from bushfire. Bush includes bushland, scrub, grassland, farmland, heath, marram grass and buttongrass. Most bushfires in Tasmania can occur during relatively mild summer weather and are easily controlled by firefighters. However, bushfires that break out on very hot, dry and windy days can spread rapidly and may be difficult or impossible for firefighters to control. These fires can burn large areas of forest and farmland, destroy homes and livestock, and sometimes ill and injure people.
Victoria is one of the most fire-prone areas in the world. Understanding your level of risk is the first step to knowing what to do before and during a fire.
Bushfires are a part of every Australian summer. They can start suddenly, move quickly and affect large areas. Typically, Western Australia's bushfire season runs between November and April in the south west, while the northern bushfire season runs from June to late October. Bushfires can be devastating and have a lasting impact on communities. People have been killed or seriously injured, and homes destroyed during bushfires. If you live near bush, even in a metropolitan area, bushfire is a real threat to you and your family. You need to understand your bushfire risk so you can prepare your home, develop a survival plan and know what to do when a bushfire starts.