26 September 2023

Fire potential varied across the country

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Despite rain and flooding across many parts of Australia, the National Council for Fire & Emergency Services’ (AFAC) is predicting ‘normal’ bushfire potential for most of the country.

Chief Executive of AFAC, Rob Webb said the Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for Summer 2022 showed that while many areas saw above average rainfall and significant flooding this year, the saturated ground in the impacted regions supported enhanced vegetation and fuel load growth.

“This, coupled with expected warmer and drier conditions later in the season, is generating varied fire potential for summer 2022,” Mr Webb said.

“Over the course of the summer, vegetation will naturally dry out with the normal seasonal cycle, and fire potential may rise quickly with any extended period of hot, dry and windy weather,” he said.

“This means that it is possible for regions of below normal bushfire potential at the start of summer to transition to normal, or even above normal, bushfire potential later in the season.”

Mr Webb said above normal fire potential was expected in central western and southern WA, central Australia, southern Queensland and inland NSW due to increased fuel loads as a result of significant rainfall.

He said western Tasmania also showed above normal fire potential following a dry spring period.

“Areas across Victoria, NSW and the ACT show below normal fire potential due to increased fuel moisture, the continued wet outlook and reduced fuel loads following the 2019-20 bushfire season,” the CEO said.

“While most of Australia shows normal fire potential during the summer outlook period, anyone living and working in these areas needs to be vigilant,” he said.

“Destructive and deadly fires can still occur during normal bushfire seasons across Australia.”

AFAC’s five-page Summer Outlook can be accessed at this PS News link.

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