Safely navigating bushfire season on your next grey nomad adventure

Dec 23, 2023
Stay informed, prepare well, and stay vigilant to confidently explore the outback during bushfire season, ensuring a safe and memorable journey. Source: Getty Images.

With the arrival of warmer temperatures, the call of the open road becomes irresistible, inviting many of us to hop in the caravan and embark on our next thrilling grey nomad adventure.

However, as the mercury rises, so does the awareness of the potential threat of bushfires.

Australasian Fire Authorities Council CEO Robb Webb warned that Australia is grappling with unprecedented dry spells and unusually high temperatures in the early spring, with the anticipation that these hot and arid conditions will persist well into the new year across various regions.

The lush vegetation, fostered by prior La Niña rainfall, is expected to gradually dry out throughout the summer season, heightening the flammability of existing fuel loads.

These circumstances collectively amplify the potential fire hazards, presenting an elevated risk across extensive areas in Queensland, New South Wales, and the Northern Territory. Additionally, locations in Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia are also confronted with an increased susceptibility to wildfires.

“An increased risk of bushfire makes it even more important for you to take action. Wherever you live, work or visit this summer, know where to find bushfire information, prepare your property, and talk to your family and friends about what you will do in an emergency. Your local fire agency is the perfect place to find out exactly how to stay safe this summer,” Webb explained.

“Australian fire agencies have had a busy start to the bushfire season, with many working in their communities and across state borders to respond to bushfires. Communities can stay safer and support our fire agencies by being prepared for bushfire this summer.”

Fear not, fellow travellers, for with a touch of optimism, a dash of preparation, and some forward-thinking, we can not only mitigate the risks of bushfire season but also embrace the full freedom and joy that the open road promises.

Hipcamp host  Jenny Robb from Kiah Wilderness Camp experienced the 2019/20 bushfires firsthand and explains that “bushfire season can be risky for all of us” and suggests “all travellers just keep abreast of conditions through the right channels”.

“We think local ABC is the best source of up-to-date information about any fire emergency and it’s always smart to keep an eye on weather forecasts for areas you plan to travel to,” Robb adds.

Being properly prepared for any long-distance travel is essential but becomes crucial when taking a trip where the threat of bushfires is present. Robb stresses the importance of proper preparation when setting off on your next grey nomad adventure during bushfire season, reminding travellers to “stay aware” and “keep up-to-date”.

Robb suggests “downloading the Hazards near Me app so you receive notifications as you travel to different areas”.

Above all information is the “most valuable tool for any traveller to avoid driving into dangerous situations”.

“Information is gold – make sure you’re across weather forecasts for the places you plan to travel to,” Robb says.

“These days you can usually find accurate information for up to a week ahead, especially if the BOM is predicting extreme weather. And be flexible – you may need to change course or plans according to what’s forecast. You might find some hidden gems in the process.”

RACV Head of Home and Business Insurance Kirsty Hayes also highlights the importance of preparation, urging individuals to proactively equip themselves with knowledge concerning potential fire risks along their travel routes and at their holiday destinations.

“It is essential to prepare for travelling safely to your holiday destination and make sure you are familiar with the risks for that location,” Hayes said.

“Check the Fire Danger Rating for not only your destination but for the route you are travelling on – grassfires can move at speeds of up to 25km/hr and jump highways.

“You need to make sure you’ve adequately insured your home and your vehicles whilst you are on holidays, so make sure you have reviewed your protection to ensure you are appropriately insured in the event of a fire.

“Caravan and trailer insurance are not just needed when towing your caravan, but also when you are onsite at a caravan park.”

RACV has outlined the following advice for holidaymakers:

Preparing for bushfire safety

  • Plan on how and where to evacuate to in the event you need to leave.
  • Download the VicEmergency app for real-time emergency information and warnings: (or the relevant version in your state).
  • Listen to local radio for warnings and advice when you’re on the road or by listening to an emergency broadcaster.
  • Make sure you check the Fire Danger Rating for not only your destination but for the route you are travelling on.
  • On Extreme Fire Danger Rating days, reconsider travel through bushfire risk areas.
  • Consider packing an Emergency Kit with essential items and keep it in your car if possible – items such as a First Aid kit, water, fire extinguisher, fire blanket and woollen blanket are important to pack.
  • Check your insurance policies are up to date

Embarking on a grey nomad adventure through the Australian outback is a journey like no other, filled with breathtaking landscapes and unforgettable experiences. However, it’s essential to approach this adventure with a keen awareness of the potential dangers posed by bushfires.

By staying informed, preparing thoroughly, and adopting a vigilant mindset, you can confidently explore the outback, knowing you are well-equipped to navigate the challenges of bushfire season and return home with cherished memories of a safe and remarkable journey.


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