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Posts Tagged ‘New South Wales’

Australia’s Bushfire Losses Top 1,000

Posted by feww on October 25, 2013

Insurers Receive 1,011 claims for bushfire losses totaling $138 million

As of October 25, insurers in Australia have received 1,011 claims, with the losses caused by October bushfires estimated at $138 million, said the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA).

“While claims lodgements have stabilised over the past couple of days, we expect these to begin climbing again as returning residents assess any property damage,” said ICA CEO Rob Whelan.

NSW bushfires destroy hundreds of homes
An aerial photo of some of the hundreds of NSW homes destroyed in the October bushfires.

Meantime, Australia’s new Prime Minister Abbott, talking through his hat, has dismissed any link between climate change and the NSW bushfires as “complete hogwash.”

Long-time readers of this blog may recall that FIRE-EARTH climate-related models forecast the extent of damage caused by Victoria’s February 2009 bushfires with great accuracy.

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Costs of Back-to-back Disasters in Australia Continue to Mount

Posted by feww on October 22, 2013

Extreme fire danger issued for Sydney and Hunter region, as fire conditions worsen

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology has issued the following fire alerts for New South Wales warning that fire conditions will significantly worsen on Wednesday, October 23, 2013.

NSW declared a state of emergency on Sunday, amid the states worst fires in living memory.

  • Extreme Fire Danger is forecast for Greater Hunter and Greater Sydney Region.
  • Severe Fire Danger is forecast for  North Coast.
  • Worsening fire conditions are forecast.

In addition to Blue Mountains National Park, all state forests in Sydney, the Hunter, the central west and the Southern Highlands will be closed due to  high fire danger.

Other parks closed to the public include Kanangra-Boyd National Park, Wollemi National Park south of the Capertee River, all Hunter and Central Coast national parks and all fire-affected Port Stephens parks, said a report.

The bureau has raised its maximum temperature forecast for Sydney to 35ºC, up from 32ºC, as the air pollution levels turn hazardous.

NSW Health has warned people against heavy outdoor exercise because many areas in the state are experiencing poor to dangerous air quality, even hundreds of kilometers away from the fires.

“The last thing you want to do is to go out for a jog when you’re breathing in such heavy pollution,” AAP quoted The Australian Medical Association’s NSW president as saying.

How Many Fires?

At least 63 fires were burning, more than 14 of them uncontained, as of posting. The blazes have so far devoured more than 160,000 hectares (4000,000 acres), destroying or damaging hundreds of homes, and forcing thousands of evacuations.

As of noon on October 21, some 855 claims had been lodged with insurers, with losses of nearly $94 million, said Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), warning insurers that more claims will be lodged later this week.

Back-to-back disasters since the start of 2010 have caused billions of dollars of damage across Australia, with the insurance losses of nearly $9 billion, according to ICA.

The Global Threat Posed by Coal Consumption – Australian Coal Statistics

Australia is the world’s largest coal exporter. Coal is Australia’s second-largest export earner behind iron ore, worth nearly A$40 billion ($38 billion), with A$16 billion from exports of thermal coal. Iron ore exports are worth about $57 billion.

Coal accounts for 18 percent and oil and gas for 9 percent of Australia’s exports.

Black coal exports accounted for 60% of total energy exports, and 87% of black coal production. Black coal exports have increased by more than 50% over the past 10 years.

In 2009-2010 Australia exported 293.4 million tons of black coal to 33 destinations–Japan (39.3% of Australia’s black coal exports); China (14.5%, almost double the previous year), South Korea (13.9%), India (10.9%), Taiwan (9%), with 28 other countries taking the remaining 12%.

Australians boast their trains transporting coal are among the longest in the world, with as many as six locomotives and 148 wagons, extending more than two kilometers back to back, and capable of . carrying about 8,500 tons of coal.

The global seaborne trade in 2013 is forecast to increase to a total of 919 million tonnes. Japan’s 2013 imports are forecast to increase to 129 million tons.

According to International Energy Agency (IEA) data, world thermal coal trade is estimated to have jumped 14 percent in 2012 to 989 million tonnes, driven by demand in China and India. Growth is projected to slow to an average 2.1 percent a year between 2013 and 2018.

  • Australia’s average production costs in 2012 were about $85 a ton!

Australia’s thermal coal exports grew to a total 148 million ton in 2011.  In 2012 they increased by 10% to 162 million tons, and further growing  at an average annual rate of 11% between 2013 and 2017, to total 271 million ton by the end of the period has been forecast.

Australia’s exports of metallurgical coal are forecast to increase at an average annual rate of 8%, reaching 218 million tonnes in 2017, said a report.

  • Total coal production forecast for 2013:  405 million tons

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State of Emergency Declared in NSW amid Firestorm

Posted by feww on October 20, 2013

Deadly wildfires consume about 100,000 acres, destroy hundreds of homes in Australia

Government in Australia’s state of New South Wales (NSW) have declared a state of emergency as 300-km wall of fire continues to ravage the region, consuming about 100,000 acres and destroying or damaging hundreds of homes.

Deadly bushfires aided by soaring temperatures and strong winds have already destroyed more than 250 homes and damaged many more, leaving more than a thousand people homeless, and forcing thousands of others to abandon theirs.

The fire  conditions are said to be the most dangerous in more than four decades, with about 100 blazes creating a 300-km active fire edge.

The fires have claimed at least one life so far. A man died, possibly of a heart attack,  while trying to protect his home from the fire front.

At least 65 fires are burning in NSW including 15 large blazes, which remained uncontained as of posting.

Deteriorating Conditions

“We are likely to see deteriorating conditions starting this afternoon (Sunday, October 20, 2013) as we’ve already been acutely aware of, but more so as we move into Monday and Tuesday,” said Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons.

Forecasters warn temperatures between the mid-20s to high 30s with sustained winds of up to 45kph gusting up to 100kph through Wednesday.

RFS tells families to be ready to run as NSW’s 300km wall of fire continues its destruction

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Australia Declares Emergency as NSW Bushfires Destroy “Hundreds of Homes”

Posted by feww on October 17, 2013

Hundreds of NSW homes may have been lost to worst bushfires in living memory

More than 90 fires are burning, mostly uncontained, around the state of New South Wales (NSW) fanned by high winds and soaring temperatures, said a report.

Authorities have issued emergency warnings for multiple location across the state.

Wildfires have destroyed at least 30 homes at Springwood, in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, prompting evacuations, “blanketing Australia’s biggest city in choking yellow smoke and closing highways,” said a report.

“The airport at Newcastle, 160 km (100 miles) north of Sydney, was closed and schools, workplaces and entire neighborhoods were evacuated.”

“If we get through with less than 100 homes destroyed today, we have been lucky,” the NWS Rural Fire Service Commissioner (RFS) told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

A massive, 300-hectare bushfire is raging out of control this afternoon threatening the GlencoreXstrata’s Mangoola coal mine, said a report, prompting RFS to issue an emergency warning for the Blackjack Mountain fire, West of Musswellbrook near Wybong Road.

Power was cut to tens of thousands of homes and businesses in multiple areas, especially the Blue Mountains, as well as other areas west, southwest and north of Sydney, said reports.

Sydney sky described as “apocalyptic”

Clouds of smoke have enveloped Sydney, turning the sky and the harbor orange, with smoke particles raining over Australia’s most populous city in scenes described as “apocalyptic.”

Developing news. More details to follow…

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Australian fires toll may exceed 200

Posted by feww on February 9, 2009

The Australian govt. blames ‘arsonists’ for the worst bushfires in the country’s History

As the known death toll reaches about 120, and the bushfires incinerate up to 1,000 homes, the government blames ‘arsonists’ for starting the fires.

“We will throw the book at you if you are caught,” New South Wales Premier Nathan Rees reportedly said.

Below is a list of Australia’s  recorded death toll and property damage from bushfires (Source: BBC UK)

  • February 16,  1983.  75 dead, 2,300 homes destroyed in “Ash Wednesday” bushfires in Victoria and South Australia
  • January 8, 1969.  At least 22 dead, 230 homes lost in rural Victoria
  • February 7,  1967.  62 dead, 1,300 homes destroyed in fires in Hobart, Tasmania
  • January 13, 1939.   71 dead, 700 homes destroyed in “Black Friday” fires in Victoria
  • February – March 1922.  60 died in Gippsland, eastern Victoria

Number of alleged arsonists arrested in the above incidents: NONE reported.

A bushfire burns in the Bunyip Sate Forest near the township of Tonimbuk, Victoria, Australia 07 February 2009. Authorities have issued urgent fire warnings to towns near a bushfire burning out of control east of Melbourne. EPA/ANDREW BROWNBILL. Image may be subject to copyright.

A total of 12 bushfires are burning out of control across Victoria, comprising about 26 blazes,  covering up to 225,000 hectare of land.

Bushfires in Southeast Australia

This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite shows multiple large fires (outlined in red) burning in Victoria on February 7. Huge plumes of smoke spread southeast, driven by fierce winds. The large version of the image shows a large dust storm blowing over interior deserts to the northwest. These fires sprang up and exploded in size in just a few short hours. The image captured by the Terra MODIS sensor just a few hours prior to this image showed no sign of these fires. Twice-daily images of southeastern Australia are available from the MODIS Rapid Response Team. NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey.

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