07 January 2010

Northern TAS 2

The York Town fire in northern TAS has continued since first noted earlier in the week. Since that time, it has nearly doubled in size to about 2500 ha burnt. The fire is currently contained, after escaping containment lines yesterday. No homes are under threat at this time, although residents should be alert. See the TAS fire service link on the sidebar for the latest info.

This Aqua MODIS image captured the fire around 1620 LT this afternoon (7 Jan). This image is the same region as three days ago, but a slightly wider view. It's also a bit blurry as it is on the edge of the swath, but a quite extensive smoke plume is seen trailing towards the south. The plume extends south past Launceston. This image is a bit later in the day than normally seen, which could account for some of the larger extent as well...

Weather conditions were similar to what was noted a few days ago as well. Not too hot, moderate winds...Again, a good portion of the ferocity of this fire is driven by the likely high fuel load. Tasmania and much of the SE should expect higher temperatures and increased fire danger over the next 3-4 days. Monday looks to be the worst in many areas...This is the same weather system that brought catastrophic fire weather conditions to southwest WA earlier in the week.

05 January 2010

Southwest WA 3

Bushfires continued to threaten homes and 'property' in southwest WA today.

A large fire in Moore River National Park which began yesterday afternoon threaten the communities of Lancelin, Ocean Farms and Seaview Park today. The threat has eased for the moment. The fire is visible on today's MODIS imagery, but does not have a striking appearance on the imagery, no smoke plumes are apparent, but the burn scar is visible on the 721 image. The fire has burnt nearly 5700 ha and is currently contained.

Other fires were noted this afternoon near Gidgegannup and Wanneroo, on the eastern and northeastern fringes of Perth. Both of these fires have been contained as of this evening.

The fire near Brigadoon noted yesterday has been contained, but is not under control. Approximately 200 ha have been burnt.

As expected, fire weather conditions in the region were quite dangerous today, with temperatures near 40oC and low RH. Winds were generally near 15-20 km/h, but gusty. The forecast for tomorrow (6 Jan) suggests that coastal areas in the region may see some slight relief, but fire weather conditions elsewhere in the Southwest Land Division of WA will be quite dangerous, with catastrophic conditions expected in some inland areas. Temperatures are predicted to reach the low-to mid 40s with fresh gusty winds in the more inland areas.

04 January 2010

Southwest WA quickie

A small but dangerous fire near the town of Brigadoon (on the outskirts of Perth) on 3 Jan has come perilously close to destroying homes. Four firefighters were injured while battling the blaze.

This fire has burnt about 100 ha and is currently not directly threatening 'property', but remains out of control and generally threatening. Temperatures near 40C, along with fresh and gusty winds are again expected in the area on the 5th.

Northern TAS

A serious fire is burning in northern TAS tonight in a state forest near Asbestos Road in the vicinity of York Town. The fire remains out of control at this time. No houses are under threat at this time, but may in the near future. The fire started on 2 Jan, and flared to near its current size of 500 ha on the 3rd. Today, firefighters were forced to retreat for safety's sake due to the fierce spotting.

The image, captured from the Aqua satellite overpass around 1530 LT on the 4th shows a dense smoke plume moving toward the ESE along with a significant area of hotspots. The smoke is directly affecting Beaconsfield (B) and residents in Launceston (L), about 30 km away, are also being affected.

Compared to typical dangerous fire weather conditions on the mainland, the weather is relatively mild. High temperatures were only near 20 C and RH was quite high. Sustained NW winds around 25 km/h with higher gusts are largely driving the fire. This lower threshold of dangerous fire weather in TAS is typical, and probably related to higher fuel loads in the forests found on the island. Forests burn more easily on the island. Conditions will likely worsen with hotter weather and a continuation of the wind expected on the 5th.