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Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

Climate emergency means we ALL need emergency plans

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Does your household know what to do in a weather emergency?

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.

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  1. Coming out of a rainless winter, we spring into a very dry tinderbox Spring and we notice the cycle is tired and rather flat and the air is fat with blackish carbon dust from fires. Our throats are parched as country water is scarce and we need a drink and the dams are drying up where there is little water. The feeling is enough to make your eyes water.
    The local native hospital Wires is looking after and caring for singed and burnt animals and birds are not on the wing any more for their feathers are hot and black and scorched and injured.
    The flaming bushfire season has started and we don’t need any fire starters to start it as the sirens scream in the distance as another fire engine is on its way at full pelt down the dirt road to a fire.
    Along the Great Dividing Range, NSW in patches of forest are ablaze as some oldies protect their houses and are aghast at the burning heat that forces them back and they are open-mouthed. The gums come crashing down as the leaves go up in choking smoke and in the haze the native wildlife scatter as a kangaroo with burnt fur goes jumping by.
    Reality is better that a book but take a look at Australian National University scientist Dr Joëlle Gergis’ 2018 book, Sunburnt Country: The History and Future of Climate Change in Australia. Things are crook in Talarook.

  2. I’m reminded of the occasional rampant fears that sweep America from time to time – invasions by aliens from Mars, catastrophic changes of biblical proportions, and various other phenomena, attributed to fertile imaginations of cartoonists and others of the panic ilk.

    Now we’ve got the Pippi Longstocking climate brigade, from Sweden no less, prophesying doom, gloom and total destruction. You really have to larf!!!

    • The facts are Callum that highly sensitive data collectors are measuring the airs increase in carbon gas’s. This increasing band of gas at our atmospheres periphery is transparent and lets the sun light through but insulates the subsequent reflected heat. Thats the facts. The subsequent captured and trapped heat is a form of energy. Energy, once created is never destroyed, it only converts (in this case to driving extreme whether events). Thats the laws of Physics. If you dont believe in the facts of the Laws of Physics then you are best commenting on your churchs bulletins, not on the facts of science. If you accept the undeniable facts above, then lay out you theory on where the heat energy is going and what it will result in. Your trolling is just wearisome drivel

  3. A lightening strike started a bush fire last Tuesday night on the Doon Doon side of Night Cap track, on the boundary of Byron Shire.

    Helicopters dumping water and on the ground crews have been back burning as we anxiously prepared our homes and escape plans if needed.

    The fire is now said to be under control ( NSW Bush Fire Alert, Night Cap ), 6 days later.

    A crucial wake up call for many of us. No mobile coverage here so minute by minute advice not available. Access tracks out are virtually vehicle impossible.

    Our gratitude to all the helicopter pilots and the on the ground crews who have done an amazing job.

    Thank you.


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