28 February 2010

West coast WA

Several fires noted along the western coast of WA yesterday afternoon as extreme heat was observed across the area.

The image is from the afternoon of 27 Feb 2010, captured by the MODIS instrument onboard the Aqua satellite. The region covered extends from Shark Bay in the northwest of the state to just south of the Perth metropolitan area (P), roughly 600 km in north-south extent. Hotspots are marked, but a little difficult to see

The FESA website provides the latest updates.

In the north, two area of hotspots are noted in the vicinity of Kalbarri National Park (K). FESA reports that these fires have resulted in a partial closure of the Northwest Highway and are estimate to have burned more than 5000 ha as of yesterday afternoon. The smoke plume is fairly dark and the hotspots look to be associated with some small pyrocumulus convection.

Further south, near the Arrowsmith (A) area, a hotspots and thin smoke plume is apparent. Not much information is available on this fire.

Most serious are fires further to the south in the Lancelin area, near Wedge Island. The smoke plume here is quite thick and readily apparent on the image. Several sources of smoke are apparent. This fire has burnt 4200 ha and has been burning since the afternoon of the 26th. Wildfire activity was reported in this vicinity in early January also.

The FESA website also suggests a few fires burning in the vicinity of Perth yesterday, although these are not readily apparent in the MODIS imagery.

Weather-wise, conditions across WA have been brutal. Temperatures were in low to mid-40s in this area of the state, with relative humidities generally below 20% (and lower) with moderate winds -- dangerous fire weather condition. Fire weather conditions are expected to remain dangerous for the next several days.

18 February 2010

Southern WA

Several large bushfires are burning in southern WA. The region of fire activity is shown in the Aqua MODIS image from the afternoon of 18 February 2010

The large area of activity is approximately 50 km to the east of Salmon Gums (SG) in the shire of Esperance. On the image, this fire has a quite extensive area of smoke and pyrocumulus (the white) The fire is burning out of control, but is not threatening private property at this time. The fire started as two separate incidents earlier on the week, which have since merged into one event. Approximately 41 000 ha have burnt to date. Smoke from this fire can be seen southward to the coast east of Esperance (E).

Another large area of fire is seen to the NE of the Salmon Gums fire. I believe this is being reported as the Dundas Nature Reserve fire. (Dundas is at the D). This fire is burning in remote country and has burnt over 80 000 ha to date. A large area of hotspots and a broad area of dark smoke are visible in the image.

Fire weather conditions across the area are quite bad. High temperatures this afternoon were in the low-40s with RH near 10% and moderate winds. These conditions are expected to persist at least through tomorrow...

02 February 2010

Central TAS

Widespread fire activity across TAS this evening, although no real threat to 'property' is present at this time. Two fires which have burnt in excess of 3000 ha (each) remain uncontolled according to the Tasmania Fire Service.

The true-colour MODIS image captures the view from the Aqua satellite around 1500 LT on 2 February. The two large fires noted above a clearly visible, producing widespread thick smoke plumes. A smaller plume is also visible in a break on the cloud edge.

The southern-most region of smoke is from the Wayatinah fire, which was first reporteon 31 Jan 2010. It has burnt 3400 ha to date. The northern plume is from a fire near Lake Mackintosh. This fire is believed to have started in mid-January from a lightning strike. It has burnt 3000 ha to date. More genertally around TAS, particularly off the west coast is smoke from previous days fire activity.

Weatherwise, conditions haven;t been too outrageous. Temperatures over the last few days in the upper-20s and low-30s. But the winds have remained moderate and RH is not too low. After and wet winter and spring, rainfall in the state has remained below normal. Things are drying out and fire season is coming into full swing in the state. Conditions in the area are forecast to be similar for the next day or two, so the threat will remain.

07 January 2010

Northern TAS 2

The York Town fire in northern TAS has continued since first noted earlier in the week. Since that time, it has nearly doubled in size to about 2500 ha burnt. The fire is currently contained, after escaping containment lines yesterday. No homes are under threat at this time, although residents should be alert. See the TAS fire service link on the sidebar for the latest info.

This Aqua MODIS image captured the fire around 1620 LT this afternoon (7 Jan). This image is the same region as three days ago, but a slightly wider view. It's also a bit blurry as it is on the edge of the swath, but a quite extensive smoke plume is seen trailing towards the south. The plume extends south past Launceston. This image is a bit later in the day than normally seen, which could account for some of the larger extent as well...

Weather conditions were similar to what was noted a few days ago as well. Not too hot, moderate winds...Again, a good portion of the ferocity of this fire is driven by the likely high fuel load. Tasmania and much of the SE should expect higher temperatures and increased fire danger over the next 3-4 days. Monday looks to be the worst in many areas...This is the same weather system that brought catastrophic fire weather conditions to southwest WA earlier in the week.

05 January 2010

Southwest WA 3

Bushfires continued to threaten homes and 'property' in southwest WA today.

A large fire in Moore River National Park which began yesterday afternoon threaten the communities of Lancelin, Ocean Farms and Seaview Park today. The threat has eased for the moment. The fire is visible on today's MODIS imagery, but does not have a striking appearance on the imagery, no smoke plumes are apparent, but the burn scar is visible on the 721 image. The fire has burnt nearly 5700 ha and is currently contained.

Other fires were noted this afternoon near Gidgegannup and Wanneroo, on the eastern and northeastern fringes of Perth. Both of these fires have been contained as of this evening.

The fire near Brigadoon noted yesterday has been contained, but is not under control. Approximately 200 ha have been burnt.

As expected, fire weather conditions in the region were quite dangerous today, with temperatures near 40oC and low RH. Winds were generally near 15-20 km/h, but gusty. The forecast for tomorrow (6 Jan) suggests that coastal areas in the region may see some slight relief, but fire weather conditions elsewhere in the Southwest Land Division of WA will be quite dangerous, with catastrophic conditions expected in some inland areas. Temperatures are predicted to reach the low-to mid 40s with fresh gusty winds in the more inland areas.