29 September 2009
28 September 2009
27 September 2009
26 September 2009
24 September 2009
23 September 2009
22 September 2009
20 September 2009
17 September 2009
The most impressive plume is marked with the 1. This fire is located about 20 km east of the town of Injune. Hotspots have been detected for about a day according to the NAFI website. In the high resolution 721 from the same time, you can see the open flame being detected in the image.
Several fires are also noted burning in or near Carnarvon National Park, marked with the 2. These have been burning for several days.
The smoke plume fire near the 3 is burning in Barakula State Forest. Some open flame is also visible from this one on the 721 image as well, though not as strongly as the other.
Other relatively isolated hotspots are noted throughout SE QLD.
All of these fires are burning in relatively remote areas, far away from human values. Fire weather conditions are currently noted to be in the moderate to high range and are forecast to remain so for the next few days. Conditions are forecast to be hot, but winds are likely to remain light through the weekend. No fire weather warnings have been issued to date.
13 September 2009
A fire ban was in effect for the southeastern reaches of NSW today, as temperatures reached the low-30s with gusty NW winds in many places. More than 60 bushfires were ignited across the state today.
Earlier, homes were threaten south of Guerilla Bay along the South Coast and in the Port Stephens area (near Newcastle).
The Eurobodalla fire noted previously along the south coast escaped containment earlier in the day, but made no threat to life or property.
The majority of these ignitions have been contained, but a few fires remain uncontrolled this evening, included ones near Kempsey, Lake Macquarie and the fires in Eurobodalla.
There are also numerous fuel-reduction burns under way, as well.
Fire weather conditions are expected to moderate for the next few days. The early forecast suggests west to northwesterly winds and warm conditions could make a return on Thursday.
Here is a link to this afternoon's MODIS image. Some small smoke plumes can be noted, but nothing especially impressive (from space, anyway...) is on display.
No media reports on bushfire from the area. I had a look on the NAFI site and noted a few hotsports in the area from the overnight MODIS passes. Using Google maps, the fires are/were apparently located in Mooloolah River National Park.
Weather conditions in the area don't look particularly conducive to runaway fires. Best guess would suggest that these are of no general threat and likely to be controlled/extinguished soon (if they aren't already).
If anyone has any other information, feel free to pass it on in the comments...
This is from the QLD RFS, the night of the 12th..
Queensland Fire and Rescue Service along with Queensland Parks and Wildlife officers will be conducting a large backburning operation in the Mooloolah National Park over the next few hours after a fire broke out in the national park earlier today.
12 September 2009
The image is rotated from the typical view, so that north is slightly askew (the yellow arrow). A very approximate scale is shown at the bottom and the 'B' in the centre is Booroloola more or less; don't bet your life on these, but they're generally OK and do give an indication of the scale of the image.
The large fire on the left and the one in the centre have started in the last 2-3 days. On the image in a 3-days ago post, no hotspots were indicated in this area. Interestingly, there was a field of cumulus clouds over the area with perhaps a few deeper, better developed clouds, suggesting perhaps a lightning origin of these fires. No rain was reported in the area, but there aren't a lot of stations, either...IN any case, the smoke looks quite dense, and the north-western fire (i.e. left) in particular is spreading quickly.
The two areas of smoke on the far left were noted in the post from three days ago. There aren't too many hotspots identified in the image, but earlier overpasses suggest them. The smoke from the bigger of these two looks to be hugging the ground, remaining quite low. It looks to me like the smoke is flowing around hills, with the tops of them poking out of the plume. Topo maps (at NAFI) do show some hills near the source(in more or less the right direction) generally reaching heights of ~250m or so.
There are a few other hotspots visible in the image; nothing spectacular at this time.
Fire-weatherwise, conditions across the region have been 'very high' with hot temperatures, low RH and moderate but gusty winds. Fuel loads are high and fully cured. This weather is not atypical and similar conditions is expected to continue for a few days. In all likelihood, these fires will continue to spread for the next several days.
These fires are not threatening any human values at this time -- that does not mean they are without impact. Hot uncontrolled wildfires release release more CO2 than cooler early-season burns. There is also an impact on the local flora and fauna. Finally, the smoke can travel and affect air quality far downstream, potentially a public health risk.
10 September 2009
The latest reports from the NSW RFS indicate that the fires reported previously on the NSW south coast have been extinguished or are only being patrolled. It turns out that some of these fires were a result of escaped fuel reduction burns made by private land owners presumably seeking to prevent bushfire damage. While such burns are a necessary part of any wildfire management strategy, inappropriately lit fires can far reaching consequences as this case shows.
While the fire situation is currently quiet, the weather forecasts for the upcoming weekend in area could see an increase in fire activity with warm temperatures and strong, gusty NW-ly winds predicted for Saturday and especially Sunday. The underlying drought conditions, which remain severe in the area make this a situation to monitor.
08 September 2009
In particular, that situation is one of relative quiet, certainly compared to this period two years ago. The areas currently burning remain small at this time, but the potential for many of these to expand to a larger, more significant wildfire remains. In any case, most of these fires remain well away from populated areas.
Combining higher resolution views of these composites (see the subset page) along with NAFI website suggests that many of these fires have started within the last week, if not the the last couple of days.
A quick summary of areas of interest. Numbers correspond to those on the image.
1. The fires in the Kimberley have just recently started. Both of the most apparent hotspots (west and NE of the number) have good clouds of smoke, suggesting a hot, well burning fire. Fire dangers are forecast to be 'high' across the region, the middle category.
2. This fire located ~130 km SE of Katherine has been burning for a few days. Dimly visible under the clouds is a thin plume of smoke. Its eastern and western extents are in part blocked by fire which burnt in August, whether deliberate or not is unknown (to me). A fire ban has been issued for the 9th just to the west of this area.
3. This fire in the Gulf Country of QLD has been going for a few days. It had a very striking appearance on the '721' imagery (not shown, sorry) with the spectral signal of open flame apparent, a very hot fire. It looks to have flared up today, with warm temperatures and moderate winds.
4. Judging from the bright smoke plumes, these fires on the Cape York Peninsula are going well. At this time of year, the number and intensity of the bushfires pictured are is fairly typical for the area and the time of year (as are those in Arnhem Land across the Gulf...)
5. Further south along the QLD coast, between Cairns and Townsville, some small but significant wildfires are apparent in the imagery. This is the area where homes were threatened several nights ago and again today. Fire weather danger remains significant, but not overwhelmingly so.
06 September 2009
A small but serious fire reported in QLD.
Sunshine Coast crews were dousing a 50 hectare bush fire that raged for several days in almost impenetrable terrain near Conondale.
The Conondale fire was threatening four Cookes Road homes about 7pm on Friday
The article also indicates that much of the area hasn't seen fire for 30-40 years.
02 September 2009
The most recent data indicate that as a whole, Australia is experiencing relatively mild bushfire conditions compared to the last year (follow link above and click on appropriate date) or two years ago. During those years, considerably more fire activity was evident, particularly in the NT.
Some activity is noted in the Top End and along Cape York Peninsula. A few fires are also indicated in the Pilbara in northwestern WA with some isolated hotspots seen further south in the Victoria desert. None of these episodes appears particularly severe or extreme. The northern parts of the continent should be coming into the most active portion of their fire season now, so the potential remains high for future activity in the coming weeks.
Nationally, the most unusual areas of fire activity is currently found along the NSW south coast. The RFS incidents page indicates that crews used today's milder weather to strengthen containment lines and bring the fires under control.
01 September 2009
Shoalhaven-- 4 areas of concern are noted in the RFS dispatch. These fires are currently 'Being Controlled' although one fire remains listed as going. No human values are under direct threat at this time. One of these fire is a re-ignition of a previously controlled fire. This group of fires is the more northern plumes of smoke in the image.
Some of the fires in this region are the result of escaped fuel reduction burns lit by private property owners.
This region of Australia is currently experiencing a severe drought at this time. Soil moisture is very low and fire dangers are much higher than usually encountered at this time of year. There have been running fires in the region for more than a month throughout the region, much earlier than normal. The fire season has been officially declared a month early here. The fire control officer of the Shoalhaven district notes the unusual nature of these fires and the climate:
"In my 29 years with the service, I have not seen fire behaviour like I've seen in the last three weeks in my whole career," he said.
"There's something going on, fuels are very very dry and if this is an indication of what we are up against for summer, people will really need to be well prepared."
Given the developing El Nino in the Pacific, history suggests a long, severe fire season for this region.