In a bushfire it’s a really hot and violent
environment. The conditions are very, very hostile. Flame temperatures are 1100 degrees or more. A lot of the smoke actually blocks out the
light of the sun, so it makes visibility extremely difficult. Your ability to actually think rationally
under those conditions is drastically reduced. If you’re exposed to that sort of environment
without any level of protection your chances of surviving long are not great. It’s a literal hell on earth. Being able to predict precisely when and where
a spot fire will occur is almost impossible. What we can do though is determine what the
likely maximum distance a spot fire is in bushfires. Ignition. You might not even be aware that there’s
a big bushfire heading towards you but you then see lots of embers landing around you
starting spot fires. Most of the embers get blown ahead of the
fire and in a very intense fire that may be 40 kilometres or so from where the main fire
actually is. There is great potential for those spot fires
to actually coalesce and form brand new fire fronts. And suddenly you could actually be surrounded
by fire and have no clear path out because the fire is essentially everywhere. A fact of Australia’s topography is that
there’s not much that’s actually very flat. The speed of a fire on a slope can be very,
very quick and can catch people unaware. With this fire here it’s starting from a
spot fire as you can see. The combination of that very strong wind on
that very steep slope results in a horrendous rate of spread as the fire reaches the top
of the ridge. The potential for getting caught in a fast
moving grassfire is extremely high. They are as dangerous as any other bushfire
because you could not run through the flames and hope to survive. If your core temperature rises by two degrees
or more you run the risk of losing consciousness. You need to understand that it’s not a matter
of making plans on a nice cool spring day, but understanding exactly what the conditions
are going to be when a bushfire arrives, you still need to be able to make rational decisions
in order to ensure the safety of yourself and your family. There’s no questioning the facts. Learn more at emergency.vic.gov.au. Authorised by the Victorian Government, Melbourne.