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Understanding the effect of bushfires on Australia’s Gas Sector


Fire safety training to reduce bushfire risk

The bushfire outlook in the Northern Territory

As we approach the spring and summer months, the Spring 2023 Seasonal Bushfire Outlook serves as a crucial call to action for communities and businesses throughout Australia. It highlights the need for preparedness against bushfires. These natural disasters pose a significant threat to various sectors across Australia, including industries such as the gas sector.

With this intensifying risk, it’s important to understand the potential impacts on the gas sector and explore mitigation strategies to safeguard infrastructure and operations.

The risks of bushfires to the gas industry

Bushfires pose various risks to the gas industry. Here are some of the main impacts to be aware of:

● Infrastructure vulnerability: Bushfires can directly impact critical gas infrastructure, such as pipelines, processing facilities and storage terminals. Intense heat and flames can damage or destroy these assets, disrupting the supply chain and causing widespread outages.

● Operational disruptions: Besides physical damage, the operational continuity of gas facilities can be severely affected by bushfires. Power outages, road closures, and workforce disruptions due to evacuations or safety measures can hamper daily operations, leading to supply chain interruptions.

● Environmental concerns: Bushfires release significant amounts of carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere. The gas sector, which often deals with environmental concerns already, runs the risk of facing extra scrutiny due to the potential exacerbation of greenhouse gas emissions during and after bushfires.

● Public safety: The intense heat from bushfires can damage or compromise pipelines, causing leaks and potential explosions. Escaping gas can exacerbate fire spread, increasing the danger to nearby communities and gas plant workers.

How can the gas sector mitigate these risks?

In the face of mounting challenges posed by bushfires, the gas sector is faced with the important task of risk mitigation. To safeguard both its infrastructure and the surrounding communities, a multifaceted approach is essential.

● Bushfire risk assessments – Conducting thorough risk assessments specific to bushfires is a valuable starting point when it comes to mitigation strategies. This involves getting expert advice on bushfire management including areas such as environment, operations, vegetation, access/egress, landscape risk, ignition risk and human factors.

● Fuel management – When we talk about fuel, we’re referring to vegetation that fuels the spread and intensity of a bushfire, such as scrub, leaves, grass, undergrowth, twigs, shrubs, bark and any other type of vegetation that will burn easily. Regular monitoring and maintenance of vegetation near gas infrastructure is crucial to prevent overgrowth that could lead to accidents or fires. Strategies include routine inspections, selective clearing, and using appropriate techniques to maintain safe distances between gas infrastructure and vegetation.

● Emergency plans – Having well-structured emergency plans designed for dealing with bushfires is a must in the gas industry. These plans lay out specific steps, ongoing staff training, and set communication lines to ensure a rapid and effective response for public safety.

Protecting the Mining Industry: Mitigating Bushfire Risks for Business Continuity


The Mining Industry and Bushfire Risks in the Tanami Region

In recent times, the Australian mining industry has faced a new and alarming threat to its operations: bushfires. The Tanami region, known for its rich mineral resources, has been particularly susceptible to these devastating natural disasters. As business owners and industry leaders, understanding bushfire risks and implementing effective mitigation strategies is crucial to ensure business continuity. After all, more work means more money, while a shutdown can result in lost revenue.

The Impact of Bushfires on Mining Operations

Bushfires have always been a part of the Australian landscape, but their frequency and intensity have increased in recent years, in no small part due to climate change. The mining industry, with its vast operations and heavy reliance on equipment, is especially vulnerable to these threats. When a bushfire hits, it can lead to:

1. Operational Disruptions: Bushfires can force mine operators to shut down their operations temporarily, sometimes for extended periods. This means less work and, ultimately, lost revenue.

2. Safety Concerns: The safety of mine workers is paramount. Bushfires can endanger their lives, forcing evacuations and causing emotional distress.

3. Property Damage: Mines and infrastructure can be damaged or destroyed by bushfires, resulting in significant financial losses.

4. Environmental Impact: Beyond the immediate financial considerations, bushfires can have a lasting impact on the environment and a company’s social licence to operate.

Mitigating Bushfire Risks

To protect your mining operation from bushfire risks and ensure business continuity, proactive mitigation strategies are essential. Here’s how you can get started:

1. Risk Assessment: Understand the specific bushfire risks in your region. Factors such as climate, fuel load, and terrain can influence the likelihood and severity of bushfires.

2. Emergency Response Plans: Develop comprehensive emergency response plans that prioritise the safety of your employees and ensure efficient evacuations when needed.

3. Firebreaks and Fuel Management: Implement effective fuel management and establish firebreaks to reduce the spread of bushfires and protect your infrastructure.

4. Early Warning Systems: Invest in early warning systems that can provide real-time information about fire threats, allowing you to take action before a bushfire escalates.

5. Training and Drills: Regularly train your staff in bushfire response and conduct drills to ensure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities during an emergency.

6. Collaboration: Working closely with local authorities and emergency services to coordinate efforts and share information. Establish clear lines of communication.

7. Insurance and Financial Planning: Ensure your operations are adequately insured to cover potential losses in the event of a bushfire-related shutdown.


The mining industry in the Tanami region and across Australia is no stranger to the impacts of bushfires. Understanding these risks and implementing effective mitigation strategies is not just a matter of compliance but a fundamental business imperative. By doing so, we can protect the safety of our employees, the environment, and the continuity of our operations. After all, in the mining industry, more work equals more money, while a shutdown equals lost revenue. It’s time to safeguard our future and ensure that our businesses thrive, even in the face of nature’s challenges.


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