09 December 2009

Eastern Australia

Another active fire day throughout the eastern portion of Australia again today, as fires raged from the Cape York Peninsula in far north QLD down into northern and central portions of NSW.

The image (click to enlarge), from the Aqua satellite showing much of the eastern coast of Australia, summarizes this activity. Looking back to earlier in the season, the image is surprisingly reminiscent of the situation in September; the long fire season drags on and on...If you look carefully, there is even a dust storm apparent (a faint band in northern NSW...), although not as strong as those noted in September.

In the far north, several large fires are noted on Cape York. One home was reported destroyed near Mareeba, just to the west of Cairns, but later reports indicate that it was merely a shed. This fire is actually one of the smaller areas of hotspots on the image. The larger one just to the west of the Mareeba example (presumably in more remote areas, so no reports) have burnt on the order of 200 000+ ha (or more), and just off image is a fire with an even larger area burnt.

Extensive fire activity continues in Carnarvon National Park and Expedition National Park and in the state forests in the general area. The second round of these fires have been going for some time now after widespread activity in September.

The northeastern region of NSW is also showing widespread activity. There are numerous fires of concern noted on the RFS Current Incidents page...too many to list here. Some of these fires are producing some quite striking smoke plumes when this image was captured. The Tweed Heads fire reported earlier is not particularly noticeable on the image, but was reported as threatening properties earlier in the day. Tragically, one person died when a helicopter being used to map bushfires crashed earlier today in this area as well.

The weather conditions were very dangerous again today, particularly in southern QLD and northern NSW, with temperatures in the upper-30s/low-40s and low RH...the winds weren't terribly strong and so moderated the danger to some (small) degree. Fire weather conditions are expected to remain poor tomorrow, and a fire ban is again in effect for much of southern QLD and northern NSW.

No comments: