WA: Perth fire partly contained
The fire burning in forests and pine plantations east of Perth continued to expand to the northeast today, but was declared contained on its western perimeter where residents in scattered settlements remained on the alert. Mild temperatures and light to moderate winds between SE and W reduced the fire threat, though at one point the fire was burning NE through 1km of forest every hour. By day's end the fire had a perimeter of about 100km and had burnt through about 15,200ha. Some fences, poles and sheds have been destroyed, and a second fire in the area burnt through an additional 1,300ha. Thick smoke from the fire covered Perth today, reducing visibility at the airport to 1.8km at midday, but cleared later in the afternoon as a seabreeze blew in.
Subsequent estimates put the area burnt out at 17,000ha and the total damage bill from the fires at $10m.
WA: Cold night in the south
It was a cool night in the state's Lower West and Central Wheatbelt, with minima 6 to 8C below the average. Narembeen's low of 8.5 was the station's lowest January minimum in 34 years of computerised record.
QLD: Heavy rain on Cape York Peninsula
A tropical low produced heavy rain on the northern Cape York Peninsula today. The low, which developed in the monsoon trough currently lying east/west across the very tip of the Peninsula, moved down the Peninsula's east coast, drawing heavy rain southwards. Coconut Island, a speck in the ocean 100km ENE of Cape York, recorded 154mm in the 12 hours to midday. Coen, 360km S of Cape York, recorded 189mm between 9am and midnight.
VIC: Bushfire in the central north
A bushfire near Taggerty, 90km NE of Melbourne, burnt through 50ha and briefly threatened about 15 homes today. The fire started about 12.15pm when high-voltage powerlines south of the Taggerty to Thornton Road came in contact with each other, dropping sparks in grass underneath and cutting power to the Alexandra region. Temperatures were in the mid 30s with light to moderate northerly winds. Three waterbombing helicopters and 15 CFA crews fought the blaze in difficult hilly country, but had it under control by late afternoon.