In warnings that will be ominously familiar to people all around Australia in the wake of the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires, Northern Territory authorities have issued dire fire warnings for today (Thursday).
An emergency situation was declared yesterday and expectations are that things will get worse today and continue for the next few days.
‘Catastrophic’ fire danger in some areas
The fire danger may reach ‘catastrophic levels’ in some areas around Batchelor and Adelaide River today.
According to ABC News, extreme conditions are forecast in the Darwin and Adelaide River forecast zones, while severe conditions will stretch as far south as Katherine. A total fire ban is now in place.
“This sort of weather set-up is something that we will probably only see once every five years,” Todd Smith of the Bureau of Meteorology told the ABC.
“I just really urge residents, particularly those out in the rural areas, to really take this seriously.”
Officials can evacuate residents by force
Wednesday’s declaration of an emergency enables officials to evacuate residents by force if necessary and to issue directions to property owners.
As part of the readiness effort, an additional waterbomber helicopter has been sent to the NT from South Australia.
In those places where fire has already broken out, 65km/h winds and dry conditions are making firefighting difficult, said Collene Bremner, Executive Director of Bushfires NT.
This is NT’s worst fire danger in two years
When the volunteer firefighters thought they had the situation under control, the winds suddenly made things unpredictable again, she added.
Speaking yesterday, the Assistant Director of Operations for Bushfires NT, Joshua Fischer, said the NT was possible experiencing its worst fire danger in the past two years.
“We ask that people be mindful around what activities they’re doing to ensure that no fire is lit [and] that also includes the use of angle grinders and other machines or equipment that can spark,” he pleaded.