Forest Fires in Australia

26 October 2013


 

The Advanced Land Imager on the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite acquired these images of the fire and part of its burn scar on 26 October 2013.
In the natural-color image (top) the burn scar appears brown. Smoke is visible drifting east.
In the false-color image (bottom), unburned vegetation appears green, while unburned areas are red. Actively burning fires are orange.
Source: Earth Observatory, NASA

In early September, the Bushfire Cooperative Research Center  released a report pointing out that large swaths of New South Wales faced an unusually high risk of fire during the 2013–2014 bushfire season (See Below). This got the fire season off to an early start, with large numbers of fires breaking out on September 10. Numerous small fires burned on and off in the Blue Mountains throughout September and early October. By mid-October, the situation had worsened significantly, with more than 100 fires burning at times. On 16 October, Australian military forces accidentally triggered the State Mine fire during a training exercise that involved live explosives, and it quickly became the largest of all the fires burning in the region. About two weeks after it started, the fire had charred more than 52,813 hectares. Fires destroyed 193 homes and damaged 109 in Springwood, according to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service. Victoria, Lithgow, Wyong, and Balmoral also lost homes.

 

The image above shows the areas that are prone above normal to fires for the season 2013-2014 (pink). The normal potential areas are shown in yellow.
Source: Bushfires Cooperative Research Center

Large areas of southern Australia, especially along the east and west coasts extending inland, face above normal fire potential for the 2013-2014 fire season, despite the extensive fires in some parts of the country over the last 12 months. However, the area most at risk does not extend right across the country, as was seen in 2012-2013. The above normal forecast is due to abundant grass growth across inland Australia, due to above average rainfall since May 2013. These conditions, coupled with above average temperatures across the country since January 2013, have resulted in a build up of fuel in grasslands. These higher temperatures have also seen forests begin to dry out. Elsewhere across southern Australia, the fire potential is considered to be normal for 2013- 2014, but normal fire conditions can still produce fast running fires.

 

Recent Media Reports on Fires in the Australia: Note: The hyperlinks on the left side of each news are password-protected (User ID and password to enter the GFMC database are available for partners of GFMC. To obtain the ID and password, please send your query to fire@fire.uni-freiburg.de). The links on the right side (in brackets) are leading to the original news source; sometimes these news are expiring rather swiftly - a reason for the establishment of the internal GFMC database):

More reports see GFMC Media page: http://www.fire.uni-freiburg.de/media/news.htm


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