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What has all this rain meant for our fire team?

Rhys Swain (Fire Program Officer)
Published 21 Feb 2022 
about  Yourka Reserve Pilungah Reserve Ethabuka Reserve Carnarvon Reserve  

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Bush Heritage's Western Region Team<br/> Bush Heritage's Western Region Team

The 2021/22 La Nina has brought significant rainfall to the eastern seaboard of Australia, while the west has seen below-average conditions. Here are some weather highlights from the last couple of months:

  • 40% of Australia has seen above-average rainfall for the last three months (November to January), the highest since 2017
  • For the usually dry South Australia the last three months have seen the highest rainfall since 1974
  • For New South Wales and Victoria, it was the highest rainfall in over a decade
  • Out at Carnarvon Reserve our staff were flooded in and out at different times with great rainfall events including one event of 142mm in 24hrs
  • Yourka Reserve has also seen some good falls in the Herbert River catchment
  • Pilungah and Ethabuka reserves are currently isolated with roads cut in all directions.

What does this mean?

It means our fire crews have finally had a summer off from fighting fires, getting to spend some quality time with family and friends over the festive season.

But this doesn’t mean we’ve been sitting back with tools down. Quite the opposite in fact. One thing we all know is that good wet seasons provide excellent growing conditions and are generally followed by periods of high bushfire risk with the increase in grass fuels.

To manage this our workers have been using this time to prepare our reserves by identifying and reducing bushfire risk. This includes managing fuels around built infrastructure and cultural sites, installing water points, maintaining fire breaks, attending fire planning meetings, discussing tactics with neighbours and fire authorities, and where possible completing small scale cool burns while fuel moisture is high and conditions suit.

Recently, our western Queensland team met in Longreach (except for the Pilungah and Ethabuka team who attended online). The meeting focused on developing a plan for this year to mitigate risk of fire, protect key conservation targets and build good working relationships with neighbours and fire authorities.

2022 will be a busy year for sure…

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Bush Heritage's Western Region Team<br/> Bush Heritage's Western Region Team