Was Sydney burnt by the recent bushfires?
No. Sydney, population 5.23 million, is the capital city of the state of New South Wales. The damaging bushfires in New South Wales reported in international media have been outside of the Sydney region. Some impacted regions including the South Coast, North Coast, the Hunter Valley and Blue Mountains are no longer at risk. Air quality in Sydney has been affected intermittently by smoke haze but it is expected to clear rapidly. Sydney normally has very good air quality.
Was New South Wales burnt by the recent bushfires?
Yes. Around 6.5% of the state of New South Wales has been burnt since the New South Wales bushfire season started in November. Whilst the area burnt this summer is higher than other bad bushfire seasons on record (e.g. 1939, 1983, 2007) loss of human life and loss of houses has thankfully been less than those years. Much of NSW’s coastline, outback towns and charming regional centres are welcoming tourists, as is the iconic Harbour City of Sydney.
Will the recent bushfires affect where I can visit outside of Sydney before and after CLEO PR 2020?
No. The great majority of tourist venues outside of Sydney – e.g. wineries, beaches, many national parks, have been unaffected by the bushfires. The country towns that have been affected are likely to be back in operation by then. Tourist operators in these areas will be grateful for your visit! Australian plants and animals have evolved many exquisite adaptations for surviving and reproducing in spite of bushfires. Forest burnt in recent weeks will have started regenerating well before August 2020, and will be interesting to visit.
When is bushfire season in Australia?
The bushfire season in Australia varies with latitude. Northern Australia has a tropical climate and southern Australia, including Sydney and New South Wales, Mediterranean. There, the bushfire ‘danger period’ is only during summer (begins 1 Dec) and early autumn (begins 1 April).
For further information, please visit: http://www.bom.gov.au/weather-services/fire-weather-centre/bushfire-weather/index.shtml
What will weather and bushfire conditions be like during CLEO PR 2020?
CLEO PR 2020 will take place in mid-late winter and conditions at this time of year in Sydney are cool to mild (average min & max for July/August are 8 & 17C and 9 & 18C, respectively). There will be virtually zero chance of wildfires in New South Wales at this time of year and air quality will be good.
Will it be safe to visit New South Wales’s nature reserves and national parks?
Yes. We appreciate that many delegates would be interested in getting out into nature and exploring the many nature reserves and national parks within the State. While some reserves and parks have been affected by the fires, we anticipate that these will be reopened to the public well before the conference begins. There are also many State parks and reserves that have not been affected by the fires. The NSW National Park and Wildlife Service website provides useful information about places to see, things to do and where to stay. For further details, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/
How can we help?
There are several charities and organisations that have been set up to receive donations to help support people in affected communities, the fire fighters (most of whom are volunteers in Australia) and wildlife rescue organisations. Note the name of firefighting organisations in the different states (e.g. Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia) have different names, as shown below:
People in affected communities
Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund
New South Wales Rural fire service
Victorian Country Fire Authority, Victorian Bushfire Relief
South Australian Country Fire Service Foundation
NSW Wildlife Rescue Emergency Fund