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‘Catastrophic’ bushfire season: NSW declares state of emergency, Victorians warned to be alert

New South Wales has just declared a state of emergency for catastrophic fire danger, as more than 40 uncontrolled bushfires ravage the state.

Significant swathes of Queensland are burning, and Victorians have also been warned to brace for a dangerous fire season.

In September, the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre predicted the horror season.

CEO Dr Richard Thornton said the worst is yet to come this year, and future fire seasons will only get more devastating.

“What we’ve said as we came into this fire season was that large areas, particularly in the east coast, are very, very dry … so we knew that this year was going to be challenging if there wasn’t substantial rain,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“It’s always difficult to say it’s the new normal because that sort of means it’s not going to get any worse than this.

“What we clearly know now is that the fire seasons are getting longer.

“The total amount of fire danger during a fire season is increasing.”

Dr Thornton urged Australians, including those in metropolitan areas, to be prepared and aware of the risk.

“Anybody who lives near a substantive amount of bush land really needs to have a bushfire plan. That could be somebody who lives next door to Studley Park or any of the small amounts of bush land that exist within the city,” he said.

“A fire can start in those areas.”

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Image: Peter Parks