Wildfires (also known as bushfires, brush fires or forest fires) are large, uncontrolled and potentially destructive fires that can affect both rural and urban areas. They can spread quickly, change direction and even 'jump' across large distances when embers and sparks are carried by the wind. They are caused by a range of natural causes (such as lightning) or by human carelessness (such as a discarded cigarette). The spread of a wildfire depends on the arrangement of land, available fuel (vegetation or dead wood) and weather conditions (wind and heat). They can start in just seconds and turn into infernos in a matter of minutes.

Aerial image of he Grose Valley bushfire in the Blue Mountains area of New South Wales, Australia which took place in January 2020

Do's and don'ts

  • Regularly inspect your home and surroundings
  • Report hazardous conditions to the authorities
  • Make your property easy to find and access for fire teams
  • Build property in safe locations, ideally on level ground
  • Monitor weather conditions
  • Do not try to outrun a fire, crouch in a pond or river as a last resort
  • Keep your vehicle fuel tank filled in case you need to evacuate
  • Put irrigation systems in place and maintain water sources
  • Avoid open burning, especially during fire season
  • Do not return to an area unless it has been declared safe to do so

Do you know how to prepare for a wildfire?

Watch: How to prepare for a wildfire