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Cycle travellers warned to steer clear of high fire danger zones

Alia Parker's picture
Temperatures across Australia are rising. Cycle Traveller.

Cycle travellers are warned to remain vigilant when riding through areas of bush and long grasses and avoid high fire danger areas with high temperatures forecast to return tomorrow, adding more fuel to the hundreds of fires burning around the country.

With temperatures tipped to hit 50 degrees in central Australia, weather forecasters are concerned the hot air will once again sweep across to the eastern side of the country with temperatures in the east reaching the mid-40s by Saturday (see temperature map), heightening the chance of further outbreaks and making bushfire fighting conditions difficult.

With fires capable of spreading at remarkable speeds (during the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, winds in excess of 100km an hour tragically caused fires to spread at faster speeds than the cars on the road could escape), cyclists are advised to avoid areas of extreme high fire danger until conditions improve.

Many National Parks remain closed and fire bans are in place across the country with steep fines for those who light up. In NSW alone, 13 parks are affected by fire and 308 are officially closed, with 127 enforcing fire bans. Cycle tourist riding and camping through the country can use gas cookers or the electric BBQs provided in some parks.

"The late onset of the monsoon, that would bring some relief in the way of cloud cover and rain, has not yet eventuated. As a result extremely hot air masses are developing in the north of the continent and being driven into southern Australia ahead of each cold front," Alasdair Hainsworth, assistant director of weather services at the Bureau of Meterorology said.

"The strong, gusty winds associated with these fronts, the high fuel loads which continue to dry out following a drier than average end to 2012, and extreme heat in January are causing extremely challenging fire conditions for our emergency services partners."

Overnight, firefighters in NSW battled more than 100 fires, while destructive outbreaks continue to burn in all parts of the country.

Cyclists can find more information about these closures on the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service page as well as on these state fire incident maps:

Image: Temperature forecast for Saturday 12 January. Source: Bureau of Meteorology.

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