Le retour de nos partenaires australiens sur la situation actuelle :
1/ In light of the bushfire season taking hold here in Australia, I wanted to send an update to you all so you are armed with all the facts and some information from people in Australia (instead of having to rely solely on the local news outlets in your country).
The bushfires in Australia have certainly been extremely bad this year, the worst I have seen in my time in Australia (nearly 20 years). We are aware that there is a lot of news being reported around the world on the subject, and it is understandable that people are concerned and asking questions.
The fires are generally all located in fairly remote locations, and affecting only small communities / towns – it is extremely unlikely that they will affect any of our participants.
There are no fires in central Sydney or Melbourne, or close to any major Australian cities or the most popular tourist destinations. The closest fires to Sydney are a 3-4 hour drive away – these are mainly affecting areas south of Sydney (this has been very bad over the last few days) and also a few hours north of Sydney. There have also been some fires to the west of Sydney, past the Blue Mountains and further inland.
The only visible / physical affects of the fires in Sydney is the air quality – there is a smoke haze over the city from time to time, and on a couple of occasions only you could actually smell the smoke – but this is only because the wind has pushed the smoke to Sydney (and not because the fires are very close).
None of the Sydney / Melbourne Job Assistance activities have been cancelled or seriously affected by the fires, smoke is the only issue here in Sydney, and this has only been visible / obvious on a few days over the last couple of months.
Many of the New South Wales (NSW) fires north of Sydney are now under control, those in the south of NSW are more serious right now. There has also been some fire activity in rural Victoria, but once again these fires are a long way away from the main tourist areas and traveller routes.
The main message to pass on to people is that bushfires are a regular occurrence in Australia in Spring / Summer each, when the weather is very hot and dry (especially in southern parts of the country). This year they are definitely more extreme than in previous years – but the main tourist routes and locations are generally unaffected. Also, it is important that people understand that they will never simply “run in to” a fire zone by accident – the areas that are affected are all closed off to visitors / members of the general public, and people will simply not be able to get close to fires even if they wanted to. For people who are travelling up / down the east coast, once again they will not be able to stumble into a fire zone by accident – roads are closed when there is any hint of danger to the public, and people are advised if an area is dangerous before they are able to get close.
If any of our members does inadvertently find / has found him/herself in a danger zone, there will always be fire fighters, police and other local officials in those areas assisting people to get out and find safety. We have not had any reports so far of anyone getting into bushfire related difficulty.
There are a couple of useful Apps that we are advising all our members to download and use – you are welcome to do the same to people who are yet to arrive in Australia if you like – here are the details:-
Australian Fires (covers all of Australia)
FiresNearMeNSW (for NSW only)
We are obviously in touch with our members, and happy to answer questions or concerns here in country as and when they arise. Please rest assured that our members safety is our primary concern, and if it becomes necessary to amend or replace any activities due to fire activity, we will not hesitate to do so. Moreover, all of the travel / tour companies we work with around Australia are reputable and professional market leaders – once again, if action is deemed necessary to safeguard their / our customers whilst on a trip or tour, this will happen without any hesitation.
I hope this information helps – obviously the current bushfire situation here in Australia is very serious, especially for the communities affected directly – but at the same time as acknowledging this, we would also like to spread the message that Australia remains the same safe and attractive destination for travellers from all over the world that it has always been. It is important that people are aware of their surroundings, and heed warnings related to the bushfires from the authorities when travelling (especially in more rural locations, and in smaller communities away from the hustle and bustle of the main tourist destinations) – but the majority of our customers, and all travellers here in Australia are extremely unlikely to be affected by the bushfires directly.
2/ De la part d’un autre partenaire :
The fires are indeed bad as we had a very devastating summer this year, however, all of them are about 4 hour drive from SYD and south of NSW until the Victorian border, in fact they are closer to MEL city than to SYD so you rest assured that SYD arrivals are not affected at all and we are sending constant updates to all members about the locations and situations.
3/ De la part d’un 3ème et dernier partenaire :