13 December 2009

Northern NSW 2

Numerous fires remain burning across NSW, particularly in the northern reaches of the state. No immediate threat to human values is present at this time, but the RFS current incidents page suggests that several fire these fires have burned out areas in excess of 15 000 ha in some cases. Many of these areas have seen fire activity for at least a week.

The image is from the Aqua MODIS instrument shows eastern NSW, from the QLD border in the north to the VIC border in the south. Most striking is the activity in the north, where numerous hotspots and widespread smoke are apparent. Interestingly, the fires noted in the Blue Mountains near Sydney (the 'S') are not apparent from space, nor have they really been in the previous few days. One possible reason is that the fires are in valleys and hence not viewable to the satellite; this occurs regularly in rugged terrain

Fire weather conditions remain dangerous, but not so much that a fire ban has been warranted. In the north, temperatures are in the low to mid-30s and humidity is low, but the relative lack of wind is currently moderating fire dangers. That said, conditions are likely to worsen mid-week, with temperatures near 40C and strong northwesterly winds forecast for a large portion of southeastern Australia.

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