Bushfire warning messages

house burningOnce a Bushfire Alert has been issued, a fire has taken hold and it is too late to start looking for what Alerts mean – so we recommend you find out now!

Bushfire Alerts form part of the information that ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) release to the public about a bushfire once it has started and taken hold.

You should know what they are, and understand what they mean for you and your family well before the bushfire season starts.

Advice A fire has started. There is no immediate danger.
Watch and act There is a heightened level of threat. Conditions are changing and you need to start taking action now to protect yourself and your family.
Emergency warning An Emergency Warning is the highest level of Bushfire Alert. You may be in danger and need to take action immediately. Any delays now puts your life at risk.

It is important to remember that bushfires can start and spread extremely quickly which means there may be situations where there is no time for any warning to be issued such as fast moving grass fires in suburban areas.

Don’t rely on a warning before you start acting to protect your family.

Always remain alert and seek information.

  • A Bushfire Alert is issued to the community once a bushfire has started and taken hold.
  • Fires can threaten suddenly and you should not rely on a single source of information before you start acting to protect yourself and your family.
  • Bushfire Alerts provide information to those in the community that are likely to be affected.
  • Some fires start and spread so quickly you may not always receive all 3 levels of Alerts in a consecutive order, you may simply receive an Emergency Warning first. There may also be situations where there is no time for any warnings to be issued at all.
  • Bushfire Alerts are issued using this website, Twitter, Facebook, local radio and television, or telephone via the Canberra Connect Call Centre or Emergency Alert.
  • An Emergency Warning is the highest level of Bushfire Alert. You may hear a siren sound (Standard Emergency Warning Signal or SEWS) before the message to get your attention. The message will have information about the severity of the fire, how far away it is and what you should do.

Standard Emergency Warning Signal or SEWS

Download SEWS sound [.MP3 78 KB]

This page was last modified on October 2nd, 2013