Three types of bushfire occur in NSW parks: ground fires, surface fires and crown fires. One, two or all of these types of fire may make up a fire event.
A ground fire can occur in any conditions and is where peat, coal, tree roots or other materials ignite and burn under the ground. Ground fires can burn through to the surface and become surface fires.
Surface fires are low to high intensity fires that burn on the surface of the ground. The tree canopy may be scorched but does not burn to the extent that it will carry a fire.
A crown fire occurs during fires of extreme intensity. A crown fire is when fire burns and spreads through the crown or canopy of trees. The influence of wind is greater in the tree canopy. When the tree canopy is interconnected or continuous, a fire can spread incredibly quickly.
Responding to bushfires burning in parks
- National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) plays a critical role in responding to bushfires as one of 4 frontline firefighting authorities established under the Rural Fires Act 1997.
- 83% of fires that start in parks are contained in them, and 71% of fires in NSW national parks have been contained to an area of less than 10 hectares (over the last 5 years, including 2019–20)
- 83% of fires that start in parks are contained in parks
- In 2018–19 year, in the lead-up to last summer's bush fires, NPWS delivered around 137,000 hectares of hazard reduction burning.
- NPWS Remote Area Response Team (RART) responded to 100% of remote bushfires within 30 minutes of detection
- The 5-year rolling average for all NPWS hazard reduction activity as part of the Enhanced Bushfire Management Program (using RFS figures) was 112,423 hectares.
- Over the last 8 years (including 2019–20), NPWS conducted around 79% of all hazard reduction burning in New South Wales, often in collaboration with the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and others.