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Why Are These Firefighters Lighting Fires?

When do firefighters light fires? When they’re back-burning, of course.

1. These guys are volunteer firefighters from the Rural Fire Service in NSW, Australia

John Donegan / Via abc.net.au

2. They’re setting fires in the Blue Mountains

John Donegan / Via abc.net.au

3. Wait? Setting Fires?

John Donegan / Via abc.net.au

4. Yep. It’s called ‘back-burning’

John Donegan / Via abc.net.au

5. The idea is to reduce the amount of flammable material available ahead of the main fire front

John Donegan / Via abc.net.au

6. It’s called ‘back-burning’ because the controlled fires are directed back towards the bushfire

John Donegan / Via abc.net.au

7. They use ‘drip torches’ to start the fires, then let them burn out or extinguish them before they get out of control

John Donegan / Via abc.net.au

8. Back-burning is different to a ‘controlled burn’, which is done in cooler months to reduce fuel build-up

John Donegan / Via abc.net.au

9. This crew is working around Faulconbridge, but other crews worked through the night in the Southern Highlands and the Hawkesbury

John Donegan / Via abc.net.au

10. Key bushfire links


Rural Fire Service: rfs.nsw.gov.au
ABC Emergency: abc.net.au/emergency
Bureau of Meteorology: bom.gov.au
Dept of Human Services: humanservices.gov.au/disaster

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