Outdated science and inconsistent ratings are being ditched in order to help save lives this bushfire danger period.
In the lead up to the bushfire period, Australia's fire danger rating system is getting its first major overhaul in 60 years.
Until now, Australia's states and territories have each had their own way to warn residents about fire risk and public feedback suggests it's way too confusing.
The previous fire danger ratings were based on only two types of vegetation - grass and forest - which accounts for just 20 per cent of Australia's actual vegetation types.
"The old system was only getting the fire danger rating [correct] about 40 per cent of the time, the new system is much more accurate," National Council for Fire and Emergency Services' Dr Simon Heemstra said.
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This led to more false alarms, less preparedness by firefighters, and potentially dire circumstances if the rating was an underestimate of the actual conditions.
"Then, people's lives are at risk and property is at risk from fires that they're not prepared for," Dr Heemstra said.
NSW Rural Fire Service Chief Superintendent Heath Stimpson said the new rating system will cause less interruption to the community.
"We're likely to get less total fire bans and fewer false alarms," he said.
The new fire danger rating system has four categories, down from six, which include - moderate, high, extreme and catastrophic.
What the new ratings mean
The fire danger rating system does not tell you if a fire is going to start.
It tells you that if a fire does occur, how dangerous that fire could be.
"It tells you that if a fire was to start today, what are the likely impacts and severity that fire will be," Chief Supt Stimpson said.
Moderate fire danger
Plan and prepare.
- Stay up to date and be ready to act if there is a fire.
High fire danger
Be ready to act.
- There's a heightened risk. Be alert for fires in your area.
- Decide what you will do if a fire starts.
- If a fire starts, your life and property may be at risk. The safest option is to avoid bushfire risk areas.
Extreme fire danger
Take action now to protect your life and property.
- These are dangerous fire conditions.
- Check your bushfire plan and ensure that your property is fire ready.
- If a fire starts, take immediate action. If you and your property are not prepared to the highest level, go to a safer location well before the fire impacts.
- Reconsider travel through bushfire risk areas.
Catastrophic fire danger
For your survival leave bushfire risk areas.
- These are the most dangerous conditions for a fire.
- Your life may depend on the decisions you make, even before there is a fire.
- Stay safe by going to a safer location early in the morning or the night before.
- Homes cannot withstand fires in these conditions.
- You may not be able to leave, and help may not be available.
Prepare your bushfire survival plan
- In NSW: Visit the NSW Rural Fire Service at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au
- In Queensland: Visit Queensland Fire and Emergency Services at www.qfes.qld.gov.au
- In Victoria: Visit the Country Fire Authority at www.cfa.vic.gov.au
- In the ACT: Visit the ACT Rural Fire Service at www.esa.act.gov.au/rural-fire-service
- In South Australia: Visit the South Australian Country Fire Service at www.cfs.sa.gov.au
- In Western Australia: Visit the Department of Fire and Emergency Services at www.dfes.wa.gov.au
- In the Northern Territory: Visit NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services at www.pfes.nt.gov.au
- In Tasmania: Visit Tasmania Fire Service at www.fire.tas.gov.au
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