Bushfires rage in WA, NT, QLD and NSW
Thu 20 Sep 2018
The Australian northern fire season runs from April to November, while the southern fire season runs from October or November (sometimes earlier) to April. We're now in the overlap season, where fires can be burning anywhere in Australia; in fact, all states and territories except the ACT have had bushfires during the past 48 hours.
Fires have been burning the full length of the coast and nearby ranges in New South Wales over the past week, exacerbated by warm, dry, windy weather ahead of several fronts. The largest is the Yankees Gap Road fire 25km NW of Bega. It has been burning for a month in the South East Forest National Park near Bemboka and as of mid-afternoon today had burnt through 19,118 hectares (191 sq km). The fire was at emergency level on Sat 15th, closing the Snowy Mountains Highway overnight into the 16th.
In Queensland, fires have also been burning the length of the coast from Brisbane to Cooktown. Two reached Prepare to Leave level today. ABC News reported that QLD Fire and Emergency Services have attended over 2,500 bushfires since the beginning of August. With drought conditions across large parts of QLD, fire authorities say there will be more instances of "subterranean fires", where a possibly small surface fire smoulders in a tree trunk then burns slowly through its root system. These fires are hard to find, hard to put out, and are likely to pop out days or weeks later and start another fire.
There have been dramatic fires on long fronts in Western Australia, such as this one (and here) south of Broome which briefly closed the Great Northern Highway on Tue 18th. Fires continue to burn in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Interior and the state's South West.
In the Northern Territory, as in large parts of QLD and northern WA, it is the dry season, and enormous scrub fires are part of life. About half the land between Darwin and East Arnhem Land burns every year, Joshua Fischer from Bushfires NT tells ABC Darwin in this detailed article on the north's dry-season fires. There have been total fire bans from Darwin south to Litchfield and sometimes SE to the Gulf of Carpentaria each day this week except Wednesday.
Bushfire links to bookmark
Thu 20 Sep 2018
Here are a national set of bushfire warning and information sites. They are permanently available in the links section of AWN, along with links on bushfire management and histories of major bushfires under Severe Weather > Bushfires.
Latest official bushfire warnings and information are available here: ACT | NSW | VIC | TAS | SA | WA | NT | QLD.
My Fire Watch is an Australia-wide map showing current fires, past burnt areas and recent lightning strikes. It, and its summary of national fire alerts, is not intended to replace the detailed and timely warnings from state authorities, but gives a useful national overview. It is the result of research collaboration between Landgate (the Western Australian Land Information Authority) and Edith Cowan University.
Another good resource is NAFI, the North Australia and Rangelands Fire Information website. It provides detailed maps of recent and past fire scars as well as current and recent hot spots in QLD, NT, and most of WA and SA. It has many excellent tools derived from satellite technology.