17 September 2007

Tanami update

Originally meant to be posted on 16th, but technical difficulties with Blogger prevented it from happening...

Since the last report of the flare-up of the bushfires in the Tanami Desert a few days ago the area affected by the fires has grown considerably. A NAFI map from the afternoon of the 16th is shown below. Comparing this chart to the previous one shows the expanded area quite effectively.

Most of the fires in the region have expanded considerably. The large fire nearest to Tennant Creek and the fire east of Lajamanu have joined their burnt areas together. Recent hotspot activity has been indicated on both of these fires. The fire near Tanami Downs has also grown. In all, approximately 2.5 million hectares of the Desert has burnt in the in the last week to 10 days or so.

The so-called 721 image from the MODIS onboard the Aqua satellite is shown below. Resolution is 1 km and the swath was taken at ~0440 UTC. The image below is an extract. The fires were right on the edge of the swath, so the browse image is distorted. The merged burnt areas/fire scars are readily visible. Some pyrocumulus are also apparent in the center of the scar around the eastern Lajamanu fire.

Weather conditions do not seem to have been particularly severe. Relative humidity have been running the the 20-40% range and temperatures have been about normal. Winds have been generally moderate, although there were some strong early morning winds in the area on the 14th and 15th. The normal conditions probably produce something like a 'very high' GFDI-based fire danger rating

AS these fires are remote, there may not much suppression going on with them.

These areas should be very apparent in the next 10-day composite.

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