Catastrophic category could cause complacency

A leading fire expert says Friday’s Emu Flat fire near Clare was a prime example of how easily a fire can become extremely dangerous outside of “catastrophic” weather conditions.

With more than 21 years’ experience in fire management, bushfire mitigation consultant Brett Stephens said residents in fire prone areas can become complacent when the fire danger rating isn’t considered “catastrophic”.

“The Bureau of Meteorology has Clare’s maximum temperature recorded at 28°C on Friday,” he said.

“Typically, people don’t generally associate that with potentially dangerous fires but when you live in the hills surrounded by vegetation like the Clare Valley, the threat is just as real.”

Based in the Adelaide Hills, Mr Stephens has fought bushfires all over the nation and even internationally.

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