Media release

Top End Bushfire Season wrap-up

Fire and Rescue

Northern Territory Fire and Rescue Service (NTFRS) would like to thank the community for their support during the Top End Bushfire Season. 

Chief Fire Officer Mark Spain AFSM said, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all firefighters and support personnel for all their efforts they’ve given this season.

“Fire crews witnessed severe weather conditions, however, we are grateful that the weather did not reach the extremes originally predicted. Our auxiliary and volunteer members in the Northern Command went above and beyond to serve and protect the community, even working independently in remote areas.

“Our crews wouldn’t be able to do their jobs to the best of their abilities without the Joint Emergency Service Communications Centre (JESCC) Operators. JESCC Operators are the unseen backbone to our agency’s response capability.”

This year’s bushfire season saw the introduction of Australian Warning System, which provides a standardised guideline across all of Australia’s emergency response jurisdictions for natural disasters. The new Bushfire Emergency Management System allowed the NTFRS to issue consistent and up-to-date information in conjunction with Bushfires NT.

This season the NTFRS also rolled out FireMapper, an online and mobile mapping tool that transforms situational awareness. Designed to support operational processes on the fire ground and in the air, FireMapper provides incident controllers the ability to capture, manage and distribute critical information on the fire ground by recording tracks, taking photos and identifying key locations and assets. 

“Having Cracker Night rescheduled to a later date posed new challenges for the fire service. We responded to more than 300 grassfires Territory wide within a five-hour period,” Mr Spain said.

From 1 May to 28 October 2021, crews in the Top End Emergency Response Areas responded to:

  • 1296 Grassfires – a total of four Watch and Acts issued
  • 902 Motor vehicle crashes
  • 171 Structure fires
  • 1169 Automatic fire alarms
  • 8 Domestic smoke alarms
  • 72 Illegal burns
  • 87 Medical assists
  • 28 Hazmat incidents

“Preparing for the future, the NT Fire Rescue Service will be moving into the new Palmerston Regional Fire and Emergency Service Complex. This move will assist our members to respond with a more appropriate capability for the 2022 bushfire season.”

As we head into the wet season, NTFRS remind residents that permits to burn will be available later in the season. For more information about permits to burn, go to:

Please remember it is an offence to light a fire, or cause a fire to be lit, in the open air in an emergency response area, unless permitted by or under the Fire and Emergency Act 1996.

PFES Media