A huge bushfire in the Kimberley region of Western Australia has burned approximately 2.4 million acres (1 million hectares). Since it started from lightning two weeks ago it has been spreading across cattle stations on both sides of Gibb River Road and recently began approaching Aboriginal communities. Not all fires in sparsely populated areas of Western Australia are aggressively suppressed but firefighters have been working around the clock this week to put in a fireline on the north side near Gibb River Road station.
Below is an excerpt from an article at ABC.NET in Australia:
Indigenous ranger groups from across the region have converged on the area to help, some travelling hundreds of kilometres. There is concern about the impact the bushfire will have on the landscape, which covers both prime grazing country and biodiversity hotspots.
The fire is now heading towards properties managed by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. The group’s national operations manager Tim Allard said it would have a harsh impact on native species.
“It’s a significant fire and a significant chunk of land has been burnt in one event,” he said.
“It’s decimated the habitat for so many animals … [and] the other issue is it destroys all of the refuge for native animals to hide from feral cats.”
Fire and Rescue New South Wales Fire (FRNSW) recently introduced to the Australian public examples of a multi-million-dollar batch of new technological devices they have added to the firefighters’ tool box.
Drones are the latest weapon in the fight against fire, chemical spills and natural disasters, providing firefighters with real-time images of areas too dangerous to access and enabling rapid damage assessments. Two new drones are part of this new package, which also includes two custom-built mobile command centers and the installation of more than 180 mobile data terminals in fire trucks across NSW.
Below is an excerpt from an article at Mashable:
The two mobile command centres feature radio and video feeds, as well as communication services such as high-speed satellite and 4G. The mobile data terminals will give firefighters access to weather data and local hydrant, gas and electricity maps as they head to incidents.
The drones, paired with six trained firefighters to operate them, will give response crews a view of the emergency site from above, whether during a fire, flood or chemical spill.
“Each vehicle has high speed internet and a 100-meter Wi-Fi bubble which could be invaluable to communities cut off from technology following a catastrophic fire or storm event,” Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said in the statement.
“This new technology improves the information available for first responders and will ensure that we remain a world class fire, rescue and hazmat service.”
Above: an Aircrane helicopter battles spot fires on a bushfire near Mt. Bolton in Victoria, Australia. Photo provided by the Country Fire Authority.
On Tuesday we had some photos and information about smoke plume research going on at the fire near Mt. Bolton in Victoria, Australia. The Country Fire Authority recently distributed this photo. There’s a lot going in that picture. It looks like that Aircrane has its hands full. I wonder if it was able to pick up that spot fire across the road, but the structures on the right side were probably a higher priority.
Later the CFA said the fire had been contained. A satellite photo of the fire’s location showed that it was in a hilly forested area surrounded by treeless pastures and agriculture fields.