13 October 2007

NT flare-up

As expected today, dangerous fire weather was observed across much of the Gulf areas of NT and QLD and into Victoria River district of the Territory. Temperatures were in the mid- to upper-30s, with relative humidities in below 20% for much of the afternoon. Winds were from the E and SE about 20km/h, with higher gusts.

As a result of this weather there was expansion of the many fires previously going, as well as many new fire starts today. Below are excerpts from the 2-km NASA MODIS “subset” image from the Aqua satellite, one from the 13th and one from 12th. Comparing the two images , a dramatic increase in the number of hotspots is seen today. Much of this new activity is observed in the “Roper McArthur” and “Barkly” BoM regions, exactly where the fire weather warnings (and the fire ban) were issued. Some of these hotspots are in the vicinity of the Stuart Highway, so driving conditions may be dangerous in some locales.

13 Oct 0420 UTC

12 Oct 0515 UTC

Comparing the days, the hotspots from today are producing more smoke, and in general the Top End is much hazier. This is consistent with the afternoon NT weather briefing, where the available 'present weather' obs indicate smoke and haze across the region. Some smoke and haze is visible on the 12th, it is just more widespread on the 13th.

The Tanami desert fires are in the southern portion of the image. They are gradually inching closer to the town of Elliott, being about 45 km away from there at this time. From NAFI, this fire looks like it may be affecting the railway.

The latest update from the Bureau suggests the worse fire weather has passed, and no bans or warnings have been issued for tomorrow.

at 1700 CST Saturday 13 OCTOBER 2007
for the rest of today.

Fire Danger over the Roper-McArthur, Victoria River and Barkly Districts has eased - no further warnings will be issued.

No news items regarding these fires have been noted at this time.

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