24 February 2009

VIctorian Bushfires: 23 Feb

Several new bushfires started and existing ones flared today, as another day of extreme fire danger was observed in southern Victoria. A total fire ban was in place across most of the state as a hot, breezy NW flow brought extreme fire weather conditions (FFDI ~60) to the area. A late-afternoon cool change and wind shift exacerbated concerns.

The image below was captured just before four this afternoon (23 Feb 2009) from the MODIS instrument NASA Aqua satellite using the True Color channels. This image is extracted from the 'Australia6' subset. Many fires are immediately noticeable to the east of Melbourne. As of this evening, many of these fires are reported on the DSE website (link on sidebar) as 'Going'. At the time of the image, the change was just approaching Melbourne (as evidenced by the band of cumulus across Port Phillip bay...) and fire weather was at its worse, with NW winds in evidence in much of the image.

The individual fires are labeled, and links to the summarized news stories are provided with the labels below.

  • W: Earlier this afternoon, residents in Warburton were facing evacuation as the fores were projected to threaten the town after the expected wind change.

  • B:A fire in the Dandenong Ranges to the southeast of Melbourne destroyed a house in the outer suburb of Melbourne, Belgrave Heights.

  • Y: A bushfire at Yarram, in Gippsland which started earlier today promises to be a long fight.

  • M; A fire near Muskville has burnt over 2 000 ha during the course of today.

  • WP: (no link). Wilson's Prom fire has burnt ~21 000 and has been alight for two weeks. Several fires are apparent and a tremendous smoke plume is present.

  • 7: (no link). The continuation of one of the deadly fires of 7 Feb. Apparently not threatening any economic values at this time.

The current forecast would suggest that Friday (27 Feb) will be another extreme fire weather day...

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