2019-2020 was an extra-ordinary fire season. MAPS have been deployed across NSW with the RFS and in ESA.
The summer of 2019-2020 saw unprecedented fires across eastern Australia. MAPS members were deployed to fires in northern NSW from September 2019, through to late February 2020 in ACT and southern NSW.
5.4 million hectares (7%) of NSW was affected by the fires.
86,000 hectares of ACT were affected by fire.
34 lives were lost.
The NSW fires saw MAPS provided:
- 47 deployments
- 21 members
- at 7 locations
- 142 volunteer days.
In January 2020 the fires entered ACT and over the next month fires volunteers were continued to be called. From 1 October 2019 to 4 February 2020 ACT declared a record 24 Total Fire Ban days, the ACT on average sees 5–6 per bushfire season. The Orroral Valley fire burned over 86,000 hectares of land, approximately 30% of the ACT.
For ACT fires MAPS provided:
- 101 deployments
- 33 members
- at 8 locations
- 111 MAPS volunteer days.
MAPS members deployed:
- 1 member deployed 14 times for a total 47 days
- 9 members deployed five or more times
- 7 members deployed for ten or more days.
80% of our members deployed over the fire season. Of the remaining 20%, more than half had not yet had the training to undertake the roles.
View photos from the 2019-2020 fire season
View our map of deployments
MAPS Deployment History
MAPS Membership Registrar Maree Wilson has carried out a new analysis of all MAPS deployments. The following summary chart shows the total number of person-days that members have been deployed each year since the group was founded in 2006.
The downward tend in MAPS activity over the past three years is of concern to the Supervisors and presents us with challenges in how best to attract and retain new members in 2017 .
DMH: 30 September 2016
MAPS Group assists in AFP Search-and-Rescue Jobs
Over the last several years MAPS members have become involved in SAR mapping with the AFP. They have attended a few AFP training exercises plus several SAR jobs.
Duties include preparing A0 laminated maps at ESA showing the last known point (LKP) and, from this LKP point, three concentric circles indicating search area buffers. These Lost Person Behaviour (LPB) buffers can vary and the distances and LKP are given to you by the AFP. The maps generally have UBD and aerial image/topographic backgrounds.
These maps are then brought to the Police Forward Command vehicle which is also your office. You set up the ESA laptop and A3 printer in this truck and you will then be given proposed search areas to digitise. ESA have set up map templates and you provide A3 tasking /search area maps with appropriate backgrounds. As groups return from searches you download all GPS data and provide maps with completed search areas.
Here is a sample SAR map produced by a MAPS Group volunteer? Can you identify the LKP, the LPB Buffers and the Search Area Polygons?
(Click the image to enlarge)
Depending on the search size and number of teams involved this can be a very busy process so there are generally two MAPS volunteers or one assisting an ESA staff member. MAPS involvement with SAR has proven to be very beneficial so we will probably be involved in many searches.
Currently there is a group of ESA/MAPS people putting together a SAR training package and this should be available in 2016 for interested MAPS members.
Heike Apps, MAPS Group: 09 June 2016