26 September 2009

Eastern Australia

The image is from the MODIS instrument on board the NASA Aqua satellite. It was captured on 25 September at approximately 0235 UTC, around 1230 local time. It nicely encapsulates the ongoing bushfire situation in QLD and northern NSW.

1. Numerous fires are present on Cape York Peninsula, as is typical for the season. Many of these fires have been burning for a week or more.

2. The fires that were threatening houses and property yesterday have been brought under control or nearly extinguished. Although the situation continues to be monitored.

3. Homes are currently under threat in Ilbilbie, the northernmost hotspot. The fires north of Yeppoon also continue to burn.

4. Fires continue in Carnarvon National Park. A large smoke plume and numerous hotspots are apparent. The image from the 24th showed a particularly large smoke plume and was featured on NASA's Natural Hazards web page. These fires have been burning for some time, but recently flared with the severe fire weather conditions.

5. Numerous fires continue in the Brisbane, Sunshine and Gold coast regions of southeast QLD. These are mainly under control, but the threat of re-ignition and new fire starts remains. The dense smoke is arising from a fire on North Stradbroke Island.

6. Northern NSW has seen some bushfire activity in recent days, with fires at Cudgen and Dundurrabin being contained earlier in the day. Ongoing fires are noted in the vicinity of Port Macquarie in the RFS current incidents. Hotspots are far between here, but experience suggests that they are often missed by the satellite in this region. Some thin smoke plumes w/out identified hotspots can be seen on the image.

7. Several fires are also noted in the 'Great Lakes' region of NSW in the RFS current incidents. Ongoing fires are noted near Taree and Gloucester and a 2000+ ha fire has recently been controlled at Bulahdelah.

For the 26th, the weather across the east is expected to be dry and windy ahead of an approaching cold front. Very high to extreme fire weather conditions are expected and fire bans are in effect for most of the regions noted here.

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