A blazing dry season

On the back of a particularly poor wet season, the Northern Territory (NT) rural area is as dry as tinder. There have been a number of bushfires in the Darwin and Katherine rural areas that have burnt paddocks and orchards. Several mango properties in the Darwin rural area have been affected, many with minor or peripheral damage, but at least one grower has reported significant damage to their crop.

The Department of Primary Industry and Resources (DPIR) is working with NT Farmers and the Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA) to understand how we can support affected growers. We encourage all growers to ‘be prepared’ this dry season and read the bushfire recovery article for a comprehensive list of contacts and information.

Be prepared

SecureNT is a centralised website for emergency alerts and warnings, including bushfires and cyclones. It has information from the Bureau of Meteorology, NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services, the road reports, Power and Water and Bushfires NT. If you haven’t visited the SecureNT website it is well worth a look, they also have a Facebook page with more frequent social media posts.

Katherine Research Station gets singed

The combined brave efforts of department staff, the NT Fire Service and Katherine volunteer firefighters saved Katherine Research Station (KRS) from extensive bushfires. The quick thinking and long hours put in by volunteers ensured all people and animals remained safe. No infrastructure was lost, although the fire managed to get within 1.5 kilometres of the KRS office and shed complex. Staff and volunteers worked late into the night, extinguishing smouldering trees and logs. At first light, DPIR staff were straight back on the fire line, pushing over burning trees and making the area safe.

“To say the next four hours were chaotic would be an understatement, it was an amazing effort from all concerned, including the office staff who shifted vehicles and manned the lawn sprinklers,” said Jack Wheeler, KRS Farm Manager.

Accolades must go to Bernard Welsford, the Officer in Charge of Katherine Fire Service, Paul Justin from Bushfires NT and the Katherine volunteer firefighters who were on both scenes within minutes. “I cannot thank all the people involved enough, especially the Katherine volunteer firefighters who give their time so generously. Without them, it would be a poorer place,” Jack said.

Smoke from recent fire in the Katherine area, NT

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