Fire danger ratings

1. Overview

On 1 September 2022 fire danger ratings changed in Australia to the Australian Fire Danger Rating System (AFDRS). The AFDRS is the same in every state and territory. 

Fire Danger Ratings provide information so people in affected areas can take action to protect themselves and others. The higher the fire danger, the more dangerous the conditions and the greater the impact will be if a fire starts.

There are now four Fire Danger Ratings levels: Moderate, High, Extreme and Catastrophic. When no Fire Danger Rating is issued the arrow will point to a white ‘no rating’ level.

Daily fire danger ratings can be found on the CFA website. 

Rating levels.png 

2. Australian Fire Danger Rating System FAQs

What is the Australian Fire Danger Rating System?

The Australian Fire Danger Rating System (AFDRS) is changing how fire danger is forecast in Australia. The system will be the same in all Australian states and territories. It aims to improve public safety and reduce the impacts of bushfires by:

  • Improving the scientific accuracy behind fire danger predictions.
  • Improving the way that fire danger is communicated.
  • Providing government and industry with better decision-making tools.
  • Reducing the costs associated with bushfire impacts.


What are fire danger ratings?

Fire danger ratings describe the potential level of danger if a bushfire starts. They are important because they provide people with information so that they can protect themselves and others from the impacts of bushfires. They do not indicate the chance of a fire occurring.


Why has the system changed?

One of Australia’s largest surveys of the community showed a majority of Australians did not understand the current system. The new fire danger rating system uses fewer levels, logical colours, and clear and concise messages to help people to protect themselves and others when bushfires could occur.


How will the system change?

Victoria’s fire danger rating system will change from six levels to four. All signs in Victoria will be replaced with new signs. The current fire danger rating system is based on science that is more than 60 years old. The AFDRS uses the latest science about weather, vegetation and how fire behaves in different landscapes to improve fire danger forecasts. This means emergency services will be better prepared, make improved decisions, and provide better advice to the community.

FAQs - Old System     FAQs - New System

(Left to Right: Victoria's old system and Australia's new system)

Will the fire danger rating signs be changed?

Road-side signs will start to be replaced and updated from 1 September. The look and feel of the new signs will be the same in all states and territories across Australia. Prioritisation in Victoria will be given to those communities most at risk.

How is the new system better?

A greater ability to predict fire danger at a more local level will allow for tailored information for vulnerable communities and at-risk groups. The new system will:

  • Improving the scientific accuracy behind fire danger predictions.
  • Improving the way that fire danger is communicated
  • Providing government and industry with better decision-making tools.
  • Building a truly national system.

What are the new levels?

There are now four levels instead of six and the highest level is “catastrophic.” There is no longer a code red in Victoria. The new levels are:

  • Moderate: Plan and prepare
  • High: Prepare to act
  • Extreme: Take action now to protect your life and property
  • Catastrophic: For your survival, leave bush fire risk areas


What should I do now that there are new levels?

You should always monitor conditions and the VicEmergency website or app. If you have a fire plan, you should update it to reflect the new changes.


3. How can I find out if there are any fires nearby?

4. Dealing with high fire risks

In the Yarra Ranges, high fire risk often happens at the same time as a heat wave. Find out how to keep cool during a heat wave.

Prepare for possible power outages with a battery-operated radio, a charged phone that doesn’t rely on mains power and a torch. Find out more about power outages

Livestock and horses need to be removed early or moved to low risk areas early in the day. Find out more at the Department of Environment and Primary Industries.