You can't prevent bush fires, but you can prevent them spreading to your house....
Clear your house and garden from dry leaves and clear your gutters of flammable objects.......
Keep protective clothing near by and make sure you have lots of water sources...
Fire can be a devastating fact of life within the Australian bush lands, especially after periods of severe drought.
The towns destroyed or severely damaged in the February 2009 bushfires were:
Other towns and regions affected, but not severely damaged, include:
Part of the city of Bendigo was also badly affected by separate fires, still adding over 30 to the death toll.
According to the Australian Government's website, and backed by data from the Australian Institute of Criminology, there are roughly 52,000 bushfires every year. Actual figures may vary from 46,000 to 62,000 per year.
Brisbane tends to be too far south to be hit by cyclones. The warm water currents necessary for a cyclone's development usually do not extend as far south as Brisbane, although a cyclone could, conceivably, be caught in such a current.
Cyclones on Australia's eastern side readily form in the Coral Sea any time between November and April. If they do track south, they are unlikely to retain their wind strength, but they can still cause major damage with flooding rains. This was what happened in the 1974 floods in Brisbane, when Cyclone Wanda crossed the coast several hundred kilometres north of Brisbane, but then continued inalnd, dumping hundreds of millimetres of rain, despite its wind strength being depleted.
The most drought-prone areas are the areas inland from the coast. Drought hits all areas of Australia (including the coast) but drought is more prevalent in inland Queensland, NSW, Victoria, Northern Territory and throughout South Australia and Western Australia. Even Tasmania can be subject to drought.
There were many social, economic, environmental and political effects resulting from the horrific 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.
To begin with, 173 people lost their lives. This was a terribly traumatic time for those who lost friends and family. Significant numbers of people from small communities were affected. Whole towns were almost completely destroyed, or severely damaged, such as Marysville, Kinglake, Narbethong, Hazeldene, Kilmore, Yea, Churchill and Narre Warren. Over 1,800 homes were destroyed, and this resulted in more trauma of loss and displacement, not to mention the massive economic impacts of so much property loss. Two years after the disaster, only 41% of properties had been rebuilt or were in the process of rebuilding.
The total economic cost, including insurance payouts, has been estimated at A$4.4 billion. This figure does not include agricultural losses, which were estimated to include 11,800 head of livestock, 62,000 hectares of grazing land and 32,000 tonnes of hay and silage.
The bushfires burned over 400,000 hectares of land, and thousands of native animals were killed. There were 27 Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Actlisted species in the fire area and another 19 Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act listed species in the fire area, so the effect on vulnerable species and biodiversity was severe. Many recovery programmes for these affected species were put in place: details can be found at the related weblink below.
One reason is that the Eucalyptus tree, a kind of myrtle, has a very high concentration of volatile oils. Fires can start naturally, but there are episodes of arson from time to time. The many species of Eucalyptus are abundant in parts of Australia.
A dust storm is usually caused by the top layer of earth becoming very dry over time, usually from a drought. When the wind becomes heavy enough, it will pick up only the smallest particles of dirt, which resembles dust, and will carry them through the air.
It is not known what, exactly, caused the Newcastle earthquake of 1989.
Originally, investigations following the earthquake suggested that it was triggered by 200 years of underground coal mining. Geoscientists from Columbia University claimed that removal of 500 mega tonnes of coal and 2000 mega tonnes of water removed from the ground reactivated a major faultline underneath the Newcastle's coalfields. Removal of millions of tonnes of coal, and the pumping out of water needed in the mining process, created enough stress to reactivate a fault line beneath the Newcastle coal fields.
However, a 2007 report cast doubts on this theory, which came from a US report. Australian geoscientists believe more factors were involved, as evidenced by the fact that minor earthquakes have occurred in the Hunter Valley coal mining region from time to time, and not necessarily close to the coal mining sites. The epicentre of the quake was simply too far underground to have been caused by coal mining alone.
For more details on possible causes of the Newcastle earthquake, see the link below.
Australia does experience earthquakes, but not as severely or as commonly as in say Japan, Iran or New Zealand. Meckering WA in 1968 and Newcastle NSW 1989 were two earthquakes which caused severe damage, and loss of life in the case of Newcastle, largely because Australian building codes generally do not take into account earthquakes because their frequency is so low. There were two minor earthquakes off Broome WA and in Gippsland Vic in March 2009.
Essentially, Australia is situated far from tectonic plate margins which are the "hotspots" for severe earthquakes. Stresses can develop away from plate margins, which is why the continent can experience relatively minor earthquakes. Because Australia is centrally located on one of the shields of the earths crust. These are old solid parts of the earth's crust where there is no volcanic activity or movement so there is little in the way of seismic activity.
All parts of Australia are subject to drought, but those parts least likely to be affected include:
The Black Saturday bushfires began on 7 February 2009, and continued for almost five weeks. On 12 March Victorian authorities announced that the last of the worst bushfires which caused the most death and devastation were under control. However, smaller fires continued, controlled, for many months after that.
Bushfire can occur naturally when the brush becomes tinder dry and combusts with the heat of the sun. It can be caused by irresponsible people leaving broken glass around or tossing cigarette butts from car windows. Or it can occur when sparks from a camp fire are carried into the bush or the campfire gets out of control.
The Victorian bush fire hit most of Victoria's bushland, but it is the environment that was hit the hardest. As one of the worst burn-offs that Australia has seen, it has obviously had a great affect on the wildlife. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has estimated that wildlife injury and death would tally more than a million. Many of the surviving wildlife suffered burns and other injuries. A species of possum, the Leadbeater's Possum, had its only known habitat burned, putting it under extreme threat of extinction. Of course, the plants in the bush were most affected, and this has had, and will have, impact on the prospects of the many animals who need the vegetation for survival (like koalas and possums), who have all lost vast areas of habitat. Also, regrowth in the burned areas will affect run-off rates, availability of water, and infrastructure, such as dams, and dam maintenance for decades. The greater environment has not gone unscathed either with evidence of smoke from the fires, found high over Antarctica.
Bushfires, in varying degrees of severity, occur almost daily in different localities during the warmer months, beginning around late August in parts of Queensland. They reach their peak during mid-summer, with perhaps hundreds occurring through Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia on a daily basis. Many of these are small spot-fires which are easily extinguished. Major flare-ups occur less often.