Posted on: September 23, 2023

Is Your Business Premises in One of these Hotspots?

Bush fire hotspots are relevant year-round, not just during the fire season.

Factors that come into play include vegetative growth, humidity, wind, rainfall, lighting, and temperature inversions.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), Australia has five fire danger seasons:

  • Winter and spring
  • Spring
  • Spring and summer
  • Summer
  • Summer and autumn.

You can roughly find out which one applies to where you’re based on this BoM site.

Satellites mapping the hotspots

But there’s more granular information available. Australia can draw on more than two decades of satellite data that monitors smoke plumes and fires’ infrared signatures. This data feeds an algorithm that identifies hotspots and helps verify seasonal bushfire outlooks.

Researchers have analysed this data, finding more than 450,000 hotspots. This website offers detailed maps, showing Australia as a patchwork of regions. Bushfire hot spots can happen in winter, spring or summer with some zones having no seasonality.

Eastern NSW & Arnhem Land top risks

The analysis also pinpoints the areas with the top risks. They include eastern NSW, which experienced the Black Summer fires, and Arnhem Land. Fire spot counts have increased in both regions.

Whether you’re in those regions or elsewhere, keep tabs on a new citizen science app under development. The University of the Sunshine Coast recently won funding to develop NOBURN (National Bush Fire Resilience Network). It will encourage people from around the country to upload photos and forest fuel samples, which the app will match with satellite imagery. That data will help train artificial systems (AI) to predict potential bushfires – their probability, severity, and burn area.

AI will also team up with high-definition cameras, satellite imagery and cloud software to create the nation’s largest AI-powered bushfire camera network. It will encompass 14 locations in southeast South Australia and southwest Victoria.

Prepare your business premises for bushfire season

With the links above, you can check if your business is in a bushfire-prone area. Your next step is to learn about the Australian Fire Danger Rating System, which was introduced last year as a national system.

These are the revamped levels:

  • Moderate – plan and prepare
  • High – be ready to act
  • Extreme – take action now to protect life and property
  • Catastrophic – leave bushfire risk areas for your survival.

The ratings do not forewarn you about the chance of a fire occurring. They’re more about the potential level of danger if a bushfire starts, says the National Council for Fire and Emergency Services.

Here’s how to start planning to prepare yourself and your employees:

  • Source experts to assess your property and infrastructure to prevent and mitigate bushfire damage
  • Back up your business data electronically, ideally on the cloud
  • Refresh your business continuity plan and associated staff training to help build resilience
  • Keep vegetation and flammables to a minimum around your property, clear gutters
  • Invest in non-combustible window frames and doors, metal screens and thicker glass.

We can also offer valuable risk management insights and facilitate access to specialised services that help mitigate your exposure to bushfire-related risks.

Get disaster ready by following these five steps.

Expect bushfires to have a major impact economically and health-wise in Australia. Between now and 2030, more than 2,400 people will die in bushfires and healthcare costs from smoke-related fatalities should hit $11M, research modelling shows.

Bushfires and other extreme weather events cost every Australian household $1,532 on average in the year to September 2022, according to the Insurance Council of Australia. Those costs come from the higher tax bill for recording costs to increased produce prices.

Update your insurance

Bushfires can impact your business directly or indirectly. For example, even if you’re in a metropolitan area, being on the fringe may mean your premises could come under threat. A survey of small-to-medium-sized businesses in 2020 found two-thirds said the Black Summer bushfires had some impact on them.

Running a business is dynamic, so ensure you’re not at risk of having inadequate insurance both in terms of the extent of cover and the amount that you are insured for. Let us help you review and update your insurance to match your current assets, risks, and circumstances. Tailored insurance can cover your business for fire damage, business interruption, and more.

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