As the Earth’s temperature rises, Australian summers are set to get drier and hotter, increasing the risk of bushfires. Stay alert and be prepared.
Australia is known for its beautiful beaches and sunny days. But the downside of the warmer weather is an increasing number of fire events, which will only worsen with climate change. Alarmingly, it’s predicted fire seasons will start earlier and run longer than in previous years. It’s important to be aware of the changing bushfire risks across the country and properly plan and prepare.
What fuels a fire?
The way fires start is influenced by the season, vegetation and local weather conditions. High maximum temperatures, low relative humidity and high wind speeds are a recipe for disaster. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, severe bushfire conditions are influenced by a combination of the seasonal systems, but in most cases by hot, dry winds blowing from central Australia. The dry summer months leading into Autumn are the danger time for southern Australia, while northern Australia is most at-risk during winter and spring. For New South Wales and Queensland, the greatest danger occurs after the dry winter, spring and hot summer.
What causes buildings to ignite?
Ember attack: The entry of windblown sparks (burning embers) through unprotected openings is the principal cause of building damage during bushfires. These sparks start small fires, often well before the main fire front or many hours after, which develop rapidly and may eventually engulf or envelope the whole building if left unattended.
Direct flame contact: Direct flame contact occurs when hazardous vegetation or other flammable material near the building ignites causing flames to directly hit its exterior.
Ignition from neighbouring buildings: In some cases, houses that are properly built to withstand fires have burnt down because neighbouring houses aren’t built according to proper fire codes.
How to prepare for bushfire season
Here are four key steps you need to follow to prepare yourself, your loved ones and your property for a bushfire.
- Recognise the risks and plan for a bushfire threat.
Round up your family, housemates, employees or whoever occupies the property that you need to protect and have an open discussion about what steps you can take to safeguard your property from bushfire risks.
- Prepare your property for the worst.
Implement the simple things you can do to help prepare your property for a bushfire, like having a safe fire escape route, keeping the grass low and removing any flammable materials away from your property.
- Stay alert and be in the know about emergencies near you.
It’s important to stay up to date and keep an eye on the fire alert level in your area. Be warned and stay informed about emergencies near you by registering to the Australian Emergency Alert system. The service allows emergency services such as police and fire, to send voice messages to landlines and text messages to registered mobile phones to warn you of a likely or actual emergency.
- Get organised and keep all vital information in a safe place.
Make digital copies or scan and save all your important personal and insurance documents so that in the case of an emergency, you have easy access to all your essential information.
Standard underwriting criteria and policy terms and conditions apply. Insurance issued by Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722, AFSL 227681 trading as CGU Insurance (CGU). In arranging this insurance, Victoria Teachers Limited ABN 44 087 651 769 AFSL 240960 trading as Bank First (Bank First), acts under its own AFSL and under an agreement with CGU, not as your agent. Bank First receives commission when selling CGU insurance products. Please refer to Bank First’s Financial Services Guide (FSG) for details of these commissions. Any advice is general only. This information does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, you should firstly consider the appropriateness of this information and refer to the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before acquiring a product, available by calling 1300 654 166, visiting a branch or by visiting Bank First’s website.