A young farmer living in rural New South Wales has voiced her concern for bushfire season, saying Australia ‘will go up in flames this summer’.
Maddison lives in the edge of a state forest and said the land is dangerously dry after low rainfall over winter.
The 23-year-old claimed the council nor the state government care about the danger the residents and their property are in.
She said she worries for the people she lives near as they will stay and fight a potential fire to protect their farms rather than flee the flames.
In an impassioned rant, Maddison said she had seen a few burn-offs recently but she doesn’t believe there were enough.
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‘Mark my words, Australia is going to go up in flames this summer. I live in NSW, very rural, I live on the side of a state forest,’ she said in a TikTok video.
‘We went for a drive, the whole forest is dry, sticks, leaves… I am so concerned for summer because once a fire comes through here, there’s our house gone, there’s our livestock gone.’
Maddison said she had a close call when a fire came through a few years ago.
‘We could see it coming, all our neighbours came to our property with fire carts offering help because it was hitting us first before it hit them,’ she recalled.
‘Everyone was prepared to fight that front of fire to try and protect our area.’
Maddison said she ‘feels like no one really cares’ about the danger she and her neighbours are in.
‘The council doesn’t give a f***, the government doesn’t give a f***,’ she said.
‘I am worried because when we had the last drought, a lot of farmers and people that live away from town will not just run and flee and let everything burn, that’s not how we work, we will sit here.’
Maddison explained when a fire does come through farmers will stay put to try to protect their properties from burning.
‘I am actually s****ing my pants for summer. Can you hear that wind? And you should see how dry it is,’ she said.
‘I think we’re going to have some crazy fires this summer and if you’re in town, I’m not saying you’re safe but you’re lucky.’
Inspector Ben Shepherd from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service told FEMAIL a bushfire managing committee assesses what areas across the state will require burn offs to lessen the risk of a devastating bushfire.
‘Every year (the committee) looks at the landscape they consider the risk and help identify what areas need to be treated,’ he said.
‘Individuals have an opportunity to report areas they consider to be a fire hazard or risk through the RFS website.’
Insp Shepherd also said not to ‘underestimate’ what land owners can do themselves to save their property from damage should a bushfire come through.
‘It needs to be clearly understood that landholders each have a responsibility themselves on their own land to reduce the risk of fire,’ he said.
‘Simple, no-cost things can make your home better prepared for a fire like cleaning out the gutters, trimming overhanging branches, clearing out around the property, cleaning the garden and making sure the hose reaches all the way around the house.’
Insp Shepherd sympathised with Maddison’s fears having had a close call with a bushfire on her property before and said the previous fire will mean there won’t be the same amount of ‘fuel’ as the land regenerates.
‘I get that level of concern (Maddison) may have as we move towards another fire season. After three wet years, we want to shift the focus to move back to fires and make sure people understand what to do,’ he said.
‘If property recently burned it won’t have the same level of fuel like we saw in the 2019 fires. Not to say they’re not dangerous, but it will take years for that fuel to build up again.’
He said people should make sure they have a plan in place in the event a fire comes through as they can be devastating before there’s time to act or leave the property.
‘Make sure you have a water supply or a portable pump. What’s your plan if you’re going to stay and defend (the property), are you mentally prepared for that?,’ he explained.
‘If you’re going to leave, where and when will you go? There may come a time where a fire starts and escalates so quickly that it gives no time to to act or potentially leave.’
He added those governing the state forests and national parks are ‘doing everything they possibly can to mitigate fuels on their land’ and now is the time land owners should start preparing for bushfire season.
Maddison’s video comes after experts warned higher temperatures and lower rainfall will increase the risk of bushfires this summer.
The Bureau of Meteorology released its Long Range Spring Forecast which warned Australia could bring below average rainfall and warmer than usual temperatures.
Weatherzone meteorologist Corine Brown said two differing weather events, a positive Indian Ocean Dipole affecting Australia’s west and a largely-negative southern oscillation index affecting the east, will drive the drier weather.
‘The rainfall outlook for spring is definitely below the median and we’re looking at above median temperatures for pretty much the whole country,’ she said.
‘Combined with vegetation growth from the last La Niña, large areas will face increased risk of bushfires.’
This year has already broken several heat records in Australia and around the globe.
This winter was the warmest in Australia’s history, while sea surface temperatures around the world consistently broke monthly records from April through to July.
The intense heat is set to quickly dry abundant vegetation around Australia left from last year’s record-breaking rain.
Australasian Fire And Emergency Services Authorities Council CEO Rob Webb said large areas of the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales, as well as regions in Victoria and South Australia are all at risk.
‘The climate influences driving increased risk of bushfire this season are widespread,’ he said.
‘Almost the entire country can expect drier and warmer conditions than normal this spring so it is important for Australians be alert to local risks of bushfire over the coming months, regardless of their location.’
‘Fire is a regular part of the Australian landscape in spring.
‘Wherever you live, work or travel, now is the time to plan and prepare. Understand your risk, know where you will get your information and talk to your family about what you will do.’
Bureau of Meteorology senior hydrologist Dr Masoud Edraki warned warmer ocean temperatures could also fuel extreme weather in coming months.
‘We know that a warmer climate does increase the risk of extreme weather including heatwaves and drought,’ he said.
‘We are already seeing longer fire seasons and an increase in the number of dangerous fire weather days over most of Australia.’