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Bush Fire Advice

Jake_WAMBA's picture

By Jake_WAMBA - Posted on 17 January 2014

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

The recent fires in a popular riding area of the Perth Hills have highlighted the potential risk to mountain bikers. Bushfires occur every year in Western Australia. Safe mountain biking means planning for bushfire emergencies before leaving home.

Avoid riding in the bush on days of severe, extreme or catastrophic fire danger or if there is smoke or fire in the area. You can check the Fire Danger Ratings on the Department of Fire & Emergency Services (DFES) website:

In the event that you are caught in a bushfire:

  • Stay on the Trail. Emergency Services may conduct an aerial search of the area to locate any mountain bikers. Make yourself visible to low-flying aircraft flying overhead
  • Do not try to out-ride the fire. Cycle away from the fire following the trail towards the nearest well-used road or seek refuge from the fire. Where appropriate, preference should be given to moving downhill and/or upwind away from the fire
  • Look for an area where you can shelter from radiant heat, or where there is less vegetation to burn as the fire will be less intense here. Seek shelter in nearby buildings or a vehicle, or a large body of water such as a farm dam, stream or lake
  • If these options aren't available, try to find an open space such as a previously burnt area or rocky ground. Clear as much fuel away from you as possible and shelter from radiant heat behind your backpack or a fallen log, or lie face-down under a bank, rock, loose earth, or in a hollow or rut. Stay low to the ground for fresh air and cover up exposed skin to protect yourself from radiant heat. Cover your mouth and nose with a wet cloth if possible
  • Call for help. The emergency number in Australia is Triple Zero (000), however if you do not have reception with your own carrier, you can dial '112' and your call will be carried by any available GSM network

[Mod. moved to Australia - good advice for all]

Andy Bloot's picture

Good advice Jake
Back in the 50's in the blue mountains of NSW a group of scouts were caught out in a fire
Those that tried to outrun it unfortunately died
Those that ran through the fire onto burnt ground survived

Seems counter intuitive
But if they're your only 2 options...

richardgraysydney's picture

There are the usual sources of information on fires worth checking if you smell smoke:

In NSW there is an App for your mobile: "Fires Near Me NSW"

South Australia
Western Australia
Northern Territory

MPN's picture

Great information Jake

I have spoken to Mundaring Shire and have asked for the ratings this coming weekend, its going to be Very High or above.

They publish the rating on the front page of their website on the morning of each day, see below;

Mundaring stated that riding in the bush when the rating is very high, severe, extreme or catastrophic would be unsafe.

PMBC would ask its members to take notice of these warnings and be safe away from high risk areas.


Martin Nugent

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