Authorities and residents in bushfire prone areas will need better evacuation plans for the season ahead, according to two separate reports out this week.
Inadequate plans at the height of the 2019-20 Cudlee Creek bushfire caused a 6km traffic jam in the Adelaide Hills, according to an independent review by SAFECOM and former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty AO.
The report indicates had the fire continued towards Nairne, there could have been many casualties.
Motorists stuck in the Kangaroo Island bushfires were also confused about where to go and how to get there, according to the review.
Fifteen recommendations have been made in the review, including upgrading communications technology and better coordinating warnings and other public information.
The report stresses that better planning for both self-evacuations and directed evacuations is needed for future events.
According to the mid-year bushfire outlook from the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, also out this week, rain this season could lead to strong grass growth that, once dried, could pose a significant fire risk across the country.
Minister for Emergency Management, David Littleproud, said all Australians needed to work with their community, neighbours and friends to prepare for another tough bushfire season.
“With memories of last summer’s horror bushfire season still fresh in our minds, all Australians, especially in the high-risk areas outlined in the report, should be planning to protect their family and property,” Minister Littleproud said.
The Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook: July 2020 will be used by fire authorities to make strategic decisions such as resource planning and prescribed fire management to reduce the negative impacts of bushfire.
“We’re working with councils, states and territories to keep Australians safe this summer. We cannot afford to be complacent,” Minister Littleproud said.
Create your Bushfire Plan online at cfs.sa.gov.au/site/prepare_for_a_fire/5_minute_bushfire_plan.jsp
Photo by Adam Voiland of Adelaide Hills bushfires NASA image from LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response