Over half a million buildings are in the firing line this bushfire season

Jarrod
By Jarrod
4 Min Read

Researchers predict that more than half a million buildings along Australia’s eastern coastline are at “high risk of bushfires” in the coming months.

Using predictive AI modelling, analytic company PointData revealed that over 560,000 buildings and structures would be in the firing line, potentially costing a whopping 504 billion dollars in construction costs to rebuild.

“Despite the initial relief provided by a wet commencement to summer along the east coast, the enduring threat of bushfire remains strong,” said PointData’s founder and chief executive officer George Giannakodakis in the company’s Bushfire Risk Index report.

“The devastating consequences of previous bushfire seasons, such as those witnessed in 2019-2020, serve as a stark reminder of the potential impact on lives, property, and the environment.

“Adequate planning and understanding the risk on properties and buildings are crucial components of mitigating the potential financial risk of major events.”

This warning comes as a shock to absolutely no one after unrelenting temps over 40 degrees had millions of Aussies running for cover in northwestern NSW and southern QLD mid-last week. 

According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s long-range forecast for January to March, average temperatures will be at least 2.5 times more likely to be unusually high for much of Australia – making this summer one of the hottest periods in the last 40 years. 

Suncorp Insurance Climatologist Rhys Whitley said that he expects regions that currently hold a risk to only worsen as the world becomes warmer. 

“This trend is particularly evident for much of southern QLD, where fire-weather conditions are becoming more severe and emerging more frequently,” said Whitley.

“As we look into the future, catastrophic bushfires will be an ever-present danger, and so monitoring of conditions (including fire weather, fuel loads) and extensive planning (i.e. property development, evacuation of communities and fire-fighting resources) is something we consider as a high priority. 

“We also encourage homeowners to use the information available to them to be prepared for not only the upcoming bushfire season, but all future ones.”

RELATED: Experts sound bushfire alarm as Australia braces for sweltering summer amid El Niño threat

Bushfire prone areas

New South Wales

The index revealed that 284,452 buildings and structures in NSW face high to very high bushfire risk – 10 per cent of the state’s total and 18.4 per cent of all regional structures. The potential cost to rebuild these structures is estimated at $249 billion.

The top five local government areas (LGAs) with the highest risk include Hawkesbury, Shoalhaven, Tamworth, Queanbeyan-Palerang, and Snowy Monaro.

Victoria

176,329 structures in Victoria are at a high risk of bushfire, representing 6.6 per cent of the state’s total and 16.7 per cent of regional structures. The potential rebuild cost for these structures is approximately $144 billion.

The top five LGAs with the highest risk are Yarra Ranges, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik, East Gippsland, and Cardinia.

Queensland

108,160 structures face high to very high bushfire risk, comprising 15.2 per cent of the state’s total and 8.9 per cent of regional structures. The potential cost to rebuild these structures is estimated at $111 billion.

The top five LGAs with the highest risk include Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Mackay, Brisbane, and Moreton Bay.

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Jarrod
By Jarrod
Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. He has a strong passion for new and emerging consumer technology within the building sector. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.