06 October 2009

Northern NT

Bushfire activity has flared in the northern NT, as extremely dry air and moderate winds joined the (normal) heat to produce dangerous fire weather conditions over the past two days. Conditions were particularly strong today.

Unfortunately, much of the region was missed in the this afternoon's Aqua overpasses, with the region falling between the swaths. What was visible conveys the severity of the fires well.

Fires in eastern Arnhem Land were especially active this afternoon, with numerous smoke plumes throughout the area. Fire has been observed in this general area for much of the last several months, but many of the current fires look to be of recent origin.

The broader Katherine area, particularly to the west are numerous fast moving fires which have started in the past day or two. Relative humidities were below 10% for much of the day, with 20-30 km/h winds. The fire weather is expected to be near extreme tomorrow as well, and fire bans are in place.

The Gulf portion of NT has also seen a revival of activity in many of the same areas as seen earlier this season. Several going fires are indicated in the general Borroloola area. AS in the Top End, RH was below 10% for much of the day today.

A large, fast burning fire is also apparent in central NT,in the vicinity of Wave Hill. The fire has consumed roughly 100 000 ha in just over two days. Conditions there are similar to elsewhere, with extremely dry air over the area since yesterday.

Tomorrow is likely to be another dangerous fire weather day across much of the northern NT, meaning these fires are likely to expand again tomorrow afternoon. The point should be explicitly made that these fires are burning in remote regions, of little direct consequence to human values.

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