11 January 2008

Australian Bushfire Activity: 27 Nov - 31 Dec 2007

I have been a bit remiss in my (self-imposed) blogging duties, failing to keep up with my regular overview posts. I blame the holidays...

Anyway, below are 4 images extracted from the MODIS Rapid Response Global Fire Mapping site. The first three are 10-day composites, the dates are 27 Nov-6 Dec, 7-16 Dec and 17-26 Dec. The last image makes up the remainder of the year (i.e. 27-31 Dec).

I will vary from the usual format, and only very briefly discuss the imagery and provide links. It works out OK anyway, as it can be seen from the images that general bushfire activity across Australia, particularly the north, has been in decline over the period. With the onset of the summer monsoon across the north, the major part of the fire season is over for that region. For the south, the season is gearing up, but is (in general) far more sporadic than the north.

The previous National Update (17-26 Nov) can be found here.

27 Nov–6 Dec

A large amount of fire activity is the seen throughout WA during this period, ranging from the Kimberley down into the Gibson Desert. FESA were tracking fires in the southwest of the state, near Lake Johnston and Lake Tay. As in the previous update, fires continued in QLD on the Cape York Peninsula and points south, near Hughenden, although the QLD Rural Fire Service declared the official fire season 'over' in early December. Fires also continued across much of the Top End, and several regions of clustered hotspots are seen in southern and central NT. Although not especially visible as hotspots (there were a lot of clouds over Tassie during this time...), the South West Conservation Area fire was still being monitored at the end of this period. Finally, the early stages of widespread bushfires in SA, including the KI fires, are also visible.

7–16 Dec

During this period, the fires across WA greatly diminished in extent. Many deliberately-lit fires in the Perth region kept fire crews busy during this time. Bushfires were also seen in NT and Cape York. No reports of these fires were noted. Most striking on the map are the Kangaroo Island fires, which burnt about 1/5 of the island over the course of 9 days. Interstate firefighters were required to help put out the blazes. One firefighter was killed. Hotspots are also noted in western Victoria, where a large fire burnt about 2000 ha of the Little Desert National Park.

17-26 Dec

Bushfire activity was relatively low during this period. The main focus of activity was Eastern Cape York Peninsulsa. Most of the fires in WA and NT have been extinguished. A few bushfires linger in the Pilbara, and Perth saw several (deliberately lit) bushfires over the Xmas period. The remainder of the country has been quiet, with no major fires reported.

27-31 Dec

In general, an extremely quiet period as far as bushfires go. A monsoon burst in the north has finished off the fire season for much of that region. The exception is the WA Goldfields fire, which claimed three lives and closed the Perth-Kalgoorlie highway (it re-opened on the 9 Jan). At this writing, the fire is still burning, having escaped containment several times.

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