Please note, ISBE2020 has been postponed and will now take place in Melbourne on 11 – 16 September 2022.

Coronavirus and Bushfires Update


As things currently stand, the ISBE Congress is still going ahead as planned.

We would like to remind everyone that although the deadline for abstracts now closes at 11:59 pm on 17 March (Melbourne time), early bird registration is open until 26 May and there is no need to register before that time.

We are keeping a close eye on the situation as it develops internationally and making careful plans accordingly.  We will update the website regularly in the weeks and months ahead. 

Please be patient in the meantime as we navigate through these uncertain times.

 Australia has an excellent preventative health system, and travel and health requirements listed by the Australian Department of Health are shown here.


Was Melbourne burnt by the recent bushfires?

No. Melbourne, population 5 million, is the capital city of the state of Victoria. The damaging bushfires in Victoria reported in international media have been in the eastern part of the State several hundred kilometres, and several hours drive, from Melbourne. Air quality in Melbourne has been affected intermittently by smoke haze but it is expected to clear rapidly. Melbourne normally has very good air quality. 

Was Victoria burnt by the recent bushfires

Yes. Around 4% of the state of Victoria has been burnt since the Victorian bushfire season started in November.  Whilst the area burnt this summer is higher than other bad bushfire seasons on record (e.g. 1939, 1983, 2007) loss of human life and loss of houses has thankfully been less than those years. Many country towns have been badly affected but most should be back in normal operation by the time of ISBE 2020.  

Will the recent bushfires affect where I can visit outside of Melbourne before and after ISBE2020?

No. The great majority of tourist venues outside of Melbourne – e.g. the Great Ocean Road, wineries, beaches, many national parks, have been completely unaffected by the bushfires.  Melbourne has been completely unaffected. The country towns that have been affected are likely to be back in operation by then. Tourist operators in these areas will be grateful for your visit! Australian plants and animals have evolved many exquisite adaptations for surviving and reproducing in spite of bushfires. Forest burnt in recent weeks will have started regenerating well before September 2020, and will be interesting to visit.

 When is bushfire season in Australia?

The bushfire season in Australia varies with latitude. Northern Australia has a tropical climate and southern Australia, including Melbourne and Victoria, has a Mediterranean climate featuring winter cold wet winters and warm dry summers.  In Melbourne and Victoria the bushfire ‘danger period’ is during the summer months (summer begins 1 December and ends on 1 March).  Occasionally bushfire danger extends from early-November to late March but it never occurs in September or round the time of the conference.

For further information, please visit: http://www.bom.gov.au/weather-services/fire-weather-centre/bushfire-weather/index.shtml

What will weather and bushfire conditions be like during ISBE2020?

ISBE2020 will take place in early Spring and conditions at this time of year in Melbourne are cool to mild (average min & max for Sept and Oct are 9 & 18°C and 11 & 20°C, respectively).  There will be virtually zero chance of wildfires in Victoria at this time of year and air quality will be good.

Will it be safe to visit Victoria’s nature reserves and national parks?

Yes. We appreciate that many delegates would be interested in getting out into nature and exploring the many nature reserves and national parks within the State. While some reserves and parks have been affected by the fires, we anticipate that these will be reopened to the public well before the conference begins. There are also many State parks and reserves that have not been affected by the fires. The Parks Victoria website provides useful information about places to see, things to do and where to stay. For further details, see https://www.parks.vic.gov.au

How can we help?

There are several charities and organisations that have been set up to receive donations to help support people in affected communities, the fire fighters (most of whom are volunteers in Australia!) and wildlife rescue organisations. Note the name of firefighting organisations in the different states (e.g. Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland)  have different names, as shown below 

People in affected communities

Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund


Victorian Bushfire Appeal



New South Wales Rural fire service


Victorian Country Fire Authority, Victorian Bushfire Relief


South Australian Country Fire Service Foundation


Wildlife rescue

NSW Wildlife Rescue Emergency Fund


Zoos Victoria Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund


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