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Frequently Asked Questions – Australian Bushfires

The APRICOT Organising Committee has received enquiries from delegates about the impact of Australia’s bushfire season on Melbourne and the APRICOT conference. We’ve tried to answer the most frequent questions below, but if your query isn’t covered here please don’t hesitate to get in touch .

1. Is APRICOT 2020 still going ahead?

Yes! The conference is going ahead as planned and we are looking forward to seeing you there.

2. Are the fires threatening Melbourne?

Melbourne is not under any immediate fire threat. The bushfires are in rural areas and the conference venue is located in the heart of the city of Melbourne. This map shows the locations of fires in the Australian state of Victoria, which is where Melbourne is located.

3. What about the smoke pollution, will Melbourne be affected during the conference?

Bushfire smoke is affecting large parts of the country, including Melbourne, from time to time depending on the location of fires and weather conditions. It is very hard to predict whether smoke from the fires will affect Melbourne during APRICOT 2020 but there is certainly a chance, given the ongoing drought in Australia and with the ‘bushfire season’ likely to extend until the end of February. The conference venue has a high quality air conditioning system, so any exposure during the conference is likely to be minimal.

APRICOT delegates who suffer from respiratory or other health conditions that could be complicated by smoky conditions should bring any personal medications required. A ‘P2 rated’ face mask may also be helpful for outdoor use should the smoke levels become high.

4. Are flights into Melbourne being affected?

There has been some disruption to air travel in Melbourne. However, you should consult with your airline or travel agent closer to the date of your flight to see if there will be any delays due to bushfire smoke.

5. Will the fires be extinguished by February?

Authorities believe the bushfires in parts of Victoria will continue to burn into February, and the ongoing drought in Australia means the possibility of new bushfires starting is likely. It is very hard to predict when the fires will be extinguished.

6. How can I help contribute to the bushfire recovery efforts in Australia?

There are a number of reputable charities that are accepting donations to help people affected by the bushfires. You may wish to support the Victorian Government’s Victorian Bushfire Appeal, the Australian Red Cross, or WIRES (wildlife rescue), as some examples. Unfortunately, also please be wary of scammers operating and check the bona fides of any fund raising you might find appealing.