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Bushfire blindness: 6 million Australians close to bushland not ready for fires


Millions of Australians within close proximity to bushland are unprepared for a horror summer, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,062 respondents – 566 of whom live within a 10km radius of bushland – revealed more than half (59%) do not have a bushfire survival plan in place.

That's 6.3 million people who will be left vulnerable if things take an unexpected turn for the worse.

This comes as almost 1 in 2 (48%) Australians say they are worried about the risk of bushfires or floods this coming summer.

Finder's research shows 1 in 5 (21%) are worried about the risk of bushfires and 7% are concerned about floods, while 20% are anxious about the occurrence of both.

Gary Ross Hunter, insurance expert at Finder, said the general consensus is that this will be a tough summer.

"It will be a pretty anxious couple of months as temperatures increase, with many Australians dangerously unprepared.

"We've already seen dozens of out of control fires in the past few months with conditions expected to ramp up.

"There's some extreme storm and weather events forecasted in the next couple of months which will likely impact thousands of homeowners."

Finder research revealed that nearly half (46%) of Aussies who live within 10km of bushland do not have home and contents insurance.

The same can be said for 1 in 5 (20%) who live within 1–5km and a similar amount (19%) who live between 6km and 10km away from the bush.

Almost 1 in 10 (7%) say their property borders on bushland, yet they will not be covered if things turn sour.

Hunter urged residents to stay on top of warnings.

"During a fire, embers can travel up to 40 kilometres ahead of the fire front and fire speeds can reach over 25 kilometres per hour.

"You think this could never happen to you but if it does you don't want to be caught off guard and left uninsured.

"Stock up on bottled water, clean out gutters and drains, and keep an eye out for warnings from authorities.

"Now is the time to examine your insurance and monitor emerging situations closely," Hunter said.

Do you have a bushfire survival plan?
I don't know what that is1%
Source: Finder survey of 566 respondents who live within a 10km radius of bushland, October 2023
Are you worried about the risk of bushfires or floods this coming summer season?
No, neither52%
Yes, bushfires21%
Yes, both20%
Yes, floods7%
Source: Finder survey of 1,062 Australians, October 2023

Do you live close to bushland? Here's how to get bushfire ready.

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