Fires Near Me app featured on the App Store

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Back in January I posted about the Rural Fire Services of NSW’s Fires Near Me app on what was a record temperature day in NSW, with a declared catastrophic fire danger. Fortunately the danger passed mostly smoothly.

Ten months later we are in the midst of a declared State of Emergency in NSW and that old post is still getting a lot of hits. I am pleased it might be helping to get the word out.

I just cruised by the App Store app and was pleased to see that Apple is giving the Fires Near Me app top left billing in the above the fold featured area for Best New Apps. Fires Near Me is not technically a new app, but it is great that people can find it quickly, on a day that has the very real potential for disastrous fire damage.

This is a small but important gesture by Apple, one that supports the incredible efforts of the fire fighters, police, emergency services personnel and the variety of government, private sector and volunteer organisations supporting their efforts.

Best wishes for a safe day for all those effected. Use the app, along with news services and social media to keep teack, and heed warnings. If recommended, leave early.

NSW Bushfires and the Fires Near Me NSW app

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Tomorrow is going to be a very hot day in NSW, with temperatures of 43C predicted right across the Sydney metro area. Coupled with predictions of extremely strong winds (60-80kph), government officials are warning of catastrophic bushfire conditions, particularly in areas like the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands.
Fires Near Me NSW app

Apparently this combination of hot weather and winds are leading to the NSW Rural Fire Service predicting a high potential for severe, extreme and or even catastrophic bushfires across the state. The following tweet from the RFS shows the current thnking:

Statewide Total Fire Ban declared for tomorrow. Catastrophic Fire Danger forecast for Illawarra/Shoalhaven and Southern Ranges.

First things first, every person who lives in or near a bushfire-prone area in NSW should

  1. Have a bushfire survival plan; and
  2. Act on that plan early (and don’t wait to leave the area)

Everyone in such an area should closely monitor reports of fire outbreaks. In 2013 there are some good new options for this, complementing tried and tested methods like local radio and television broadcasts, including:

This new app is terrific. It geolocates you (if you allow the app to use your location), and then plots up-to-date information from the RFS about fires that might be in your area, and their status, along with any other information.

In the words of the RFS Deputy Commission of Operations, Bob Rogers:

People should not underestimate how deadly tomorrow’s fire danger could be. #nswfires

Updates

  1. The ABC reports that these bushfires are going to potentially be the “worst ever” for NSW
  2. Added a link to the RFS’ excellent publicationĀ Bushfire Survival Plan.