Australian Ski Resorts Using Snow Guns to Fight Fires

Joseph Phillips | FireFire
Australian, Perisher snow gun fire
Perisher using snow guns for fire prevention. PC: Perisher

Some Australian Ski Resorts have been deploying their snow guns to fight off incoming fires. Thredbo Ski Resort and Perisher Ski Resort are hoping to survive the brush fires ravaging Australia. The highest and largest ski areas in Australia, respectively, hope to avoid the fate of Selwyn Snow Resort, which succumbed to the fires at the beginning of January. Nobody was hurt but all buildings were destroyed.

Selwyn, australian, nsw, wildfires
Fire damage at Selwyn Ski Area. PC: Selwyn Facebook 

Thredbo lays just 30 miles south of Selwyn, and several other fires encircle it too. A three-year-long drought, combined with high temperatures and unfavorable winds, have been part of the formula that is causing destructive bushfires. Just after California experienced one of its worst years on record, Australia sadly followed suit.

fire threatens ski areas
BBC active fire map Jan 10th, with approximate locations of Ski Areas. PC: BBC
fire predictions ski area
New South Wales Fire Service prediction map. PC: NSW

As we can see above, both resorts lay in the predicted path of the fires. Both resorts have been utilizing their arsenal of snow guns to try and prevent damage. Forecasts of ravaging winds and high temperatures over the past week lead to fear embers would spread and start more fires near resort facilities. The guns kept the ground damp and especially focused on the areas around the main buildings.

Thankfully, favorable weather blessed the ski areas over the past few days. Perisher Ski Resort updated followers via Facebook that it had cooler temperatures and even a little bit of rain. Actual fires have not been as widespread as the map predicted, thanks to favorable weather and valiant efforts of firefighters. The bushfire crisis is beginning to wind down, hopefully with more favorable weather in the coming weeks to put an end to this terrible fire season.

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