If you live in Victoria and have a smart phone, there’s one application that you shouldn’t be setting off for a hike without this bushfire season. The CFA has recently released an extremely useful app called “CFA FireReady”, which is free to download for Blackberry, Android or Apple smart phones.
The majority of places that hikers visit would be considered high bushfire risk areas, so it would be silly to go hiking in the drier months without checking bushfire information first. With this installed on my iPhone, staying informed barely even ads to my preparation time. It only takes one touch to open the app and within seconds a map of Victoria is displayed, showing my location (according to the phone’s in-built GPS) and the location and status of any fires.
Aside from the fire map, the app also provides information on current warnings, total fire bans and fire danger ratings. Push notifications can even be set up to automatically alert the user of any fire activity in specified areas.
I haven’t heard of any other applications providing the same information but even if they do exist, I’d have more confidence in this one since it is the only official CFA app. It’s great to see the CFA finally making better use of social media. It seems they’ve also recently taken to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, so it will be interesting to see how they decide to best utilise their social media presence.
Have you used the app? What do you think? If you have anything to say, please leave a comment below. Are you interested in more from Bushwalking Blog? You can either sign-up for the e-mail newsletter, or get updates via the RSS feed, Facebook or Twitter.