SA Country Fire Service



Australians urged to understand new Fire Danger Rating System


It is vital South Australians understand the new simplified Australian Fire Danger Rating System (AFDRS) which is being officially launched around the country today.
The new nationally consistent, action-orientated system will go live on September 1 and will be used to tell the community how dangerous a bushfire would be should a one start and what to do to keep safe. The AFDRS uses the latest science data and technology to improve the forecasting of fire danger, replacing the current McArthur System, which was developed in the 1960s.
It now consists of four levels including: Green - Moderate (Plan and prepare); Yellow - High (Be ready to act); Orange - Extreme (Take action now to protect your life and property); and Red - Catastrophic (For your survival, leave bushfire risk areas).
The AFDRS will also introduce a 'no rating' for those days where no proactive action is required by the community. On these days, individuals will still need to abide by local seasonal laws and regulations, but there is less risk of a fire spreading in a dangerous or life-threatening way. There will be no change to the conditions under which a total fire ban will be declared.
CFS Executive Director Operations, Brett Loughlin said the new system is aimed at improving public safety Australia-wide and will enable more accurate predictions of fire danger conditions.
"Having clear public messaging is vitally important to ensure communities from all around Australia can understand what actions to take to keep them safe when they are travelling, living or working in South Australia."
"The implementation of the new AFDRS means no matter where you go in Australia, whatever the season, or fuels that surround you, you will be able to understand the level of threat and what you need to do to stay safe."
South Australia received $1.985 million in federal funding to implement the AFDRS, which the CFS will match over a three-year period from 2021-2024.
Emergency Services Minister Joe Szakacs MP said South Australia led a national research project which was pivotal in the implementation of the new AFDRS and informed the overall outcomes of the new AFDRS for all Australian Communities.
"South Australian led social research into the new AFDRS illustrates our State's pioneering efforts towards a national system. Through this research it was identified that most Australians do not believe the Fire Danger Ratings are relevant to them."
"Implementing a national system of bushfire awareness is crucial to providing people accurate information to protect themselves during dangerous bushfire days," he said.
"We encourage all South Australians, even those not directly in the line of fire, to become familiar with the new system to help keep family, friends and pets safe as we approach summer".
The AFDRS also includes a Fire Behaviour Index (FBI) which will be used by industry professionals to support decisions about fire preparedness, suppression, and prescribed burning. This FBI now takes into consideration eight different fuel types compared with only two previously.
Woodchester cereal farmer Duncan Campbell-Wilson said it is great to have a simplified and national system to make it easier for people travelling interstate, or those living in cross-border communities.
"I moved to South Australia from New South Wales more than five years ago and had to learn a completely new system, not only for my own bushfire preparedness but also to know what parameters I could operate within on my property."
"The new system makes it easier to know what you can and cannot do on certain days, particularly if it is going to be a day of high or extreme conditions."

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