28 September 2009

Eastern Australia 2

Bushfire woes continue throughout eastern Australia, with numerous wildfires continuing to burn along the coast from far north QLD to southern NSW. The image (click to enlarge), captured around 1300 LT from the MODIS instrument aboard the NASA Aqua satellite depicts some of these fires.

Major effort today was focused near Rockhampton (the R on the image) today, as firefighters used water bombing aircraft to save houses from destruction.

More fires are apparent further south in QLD, burning in the general vicinity of Maryborough (M). A fire producing a good deal of smoke remains burning on Fraser Island (mistakenly identified in previous posts...). Most of these are not threatening property at this time.

The situation is relatively calm in the vicinity of Brisbane (B), with only a few hotspots and smoke plumes noted. Fires also continues in the Townsville area, although these are not shown in the image. A general summary of the wildfire situation in QLD today can be found at the QFRS website.

Along the central and northern NSW, several areas of wildfire activity are noted. The RFS notes several major fires in the Greater Taree, Gloucester, and Great Lakes areas. These are visible at the bottom of the image, partially obscured by clouds although some smoke is visible.

Major fires also continue in the Clarence Valley area, including near the village of Wooli, close to coast just north of Coffs Harbour (CH) and a large 2 000+ ha fire in Gibralter range National Park, among others. The smoke from these fires is quite prominent.

While the weather hasn't been excessively warm, a deep low pressure system off the NSW coast is creating moderate winds (~30km/h) through the area. Humidity is also quite low, with RH values dropping as low as 5% in the Rockhampton case and below 20% in the afternoon more generally. Fire weather conditions are expected to moderate to some degree in the southern coastal parts, while northern regions could still see very high fire dangers. Fire bans remain in effect for much of QLD for the next two weeks.

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