Thousands of city-dwellers who moved to regions and coastal towns seeking a tree change during the pandemic are being warned to make sure they are prepared for bushfires.
Australia is poised for its first serious fire season since the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfire season, after record-breaking dry spring conditions and warmer-than-average temperatures.
More than 80,000 people moved to the regions in 2021/22, with many moving to areas at greater risk of bushfires, Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed.
In NSW, towns near Newcastle, Wollongong, and the central and south coasts have all grown in population.
In Victoria, coastal towns such as Lorne and Torquay have grown as well as regional cities such as Ballarat, Wodonga and Echuca.
Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said former city-dwellers needed to undertake fire preparations at their regional homes.
"After a couple of wetter years, it's crucial that this summer those who haven't lived in bushfire-prone areas before understand the local risks, prepare their bushfire survival plans and know where to go for information in an emergency," he said.
A free bushfire resilience app launched by the federal government helps people prepare their home for the fire season.
"The app enables Australians to assess their site-specific risk and take action to improve their bushfire resilience," Senator Watt said.
"Households can now measure the bushfire resilience of their own home through a star-rating system and receive a customised action plan to make practical, evidence-based bushfire safety improvements to their homes."
Australian Associated Press