Australia’s famous feast and famine weather cycle is more extreme than either recent or paleo-climatology studies can show it was in the past, so it’s not like we can say we aren’t warned.
The bushfire season started earlier this year in New South Wales and experts say it lasts most of the year now.
Take a read of Northern Rivers-based Australian National University scientist Dr Joëlle Gergis’ 2018 book, Sunburnt Country: The History and Future of Climate Change in Australia, for more information – or check out information on the Bureau of Meteorology website.
Basically, the longer the drought, the more dry and more flammable vegetation and soil is.
Even rainforests have suffered from recent fires near the QLD-NSW border, something QLD fire fighters say they aren’t used to seeing.
Daily reports on NSW bush and grassfires have typically featured a figure of around 50 across the state, with anywhere up to ten or more out of control at any one time.
The fires have been burning in national parks, state forests, near rivers, towns and on farms.
So… do you have a bushfire survival plan?
Could you fend for yourself in an emergency?
What about a flood? Ex-Cyclone Debbie left many people on the Northern Rivers homeless or stranded for days in 2017, with rain and drains flooding areas where residents were far less used to flash flooding than those living in the hills might have been.
Even without fire or flood, a significant storm can wreak enough damage with rain, winds, hail and lightening strikes to leave towns without power and houses inhabitable.
What’s more, authorities sometimes send emergency texts in batches but bad weather can impact the technology – if communication lines are down, you might not get the evacuation warning in time to leave and could be left fending for yourself.
Even if you do get the warning and decide to stay, there is no guarantee emergency responders will make it to your place in time to save you or your property.
More than forty local governments across Australia have declared a climate emergency: if that doesn’t tell you it might be time to sit down with members of your household – and maybe even organise a meeting with the neighbours – then you’ll probably need all the thoughts and prayers you can get.
Time for Byron residents to get ready
This week is Emergency Preparedness Week and there are plenty of chances to get help making your climate emergency plans.
Activities are planned all week, including SES market stalls, free workshops at the Byron Community Centre and Billinudgel Hotel and a screening of Damon Gameau’s film 2040.
Organisers at the Byron Community Centre say to look out for their new-in-town superhero “Get Ready Girl” with her super-emergency-pillowcase and the Red Cross has created a ready-to-go shopping list to help figure out what to put in your emergency kit.
You don’t need to RSVP to any of the workshops and a quick program is shown below.
For more information, check out the Byron Community Centre website.