28 February 2010

West coast WA

Several fires noted along the western coast of WA yesterday afternoon as extreme heat was observed across the area.

The image is from the afternoon of 27 Feb 2010, captured by the MODIS instrument onboard the Aqua satellite. The region covered extends from Shark Bay in the northwest of the state to just south of the Perth metropolitan area (P), roughly 600 km in north-south extent. Hotspots are marked, but a little difficult to see

The FESA website provides the latest updates.

In the north, two area of hotspots are noted in the vicinity of Kalbarri National Park (K). FESA reports that these fires have resulted in a partial closure of the Northwest Highway and are estimate to have burned more than 5000 ha as of yesterday afternoon. The smoke plume is fairly dark and the hotspots look to be associated with some small pyrocumulus convection.

Further south, near the Arrowsmith (A) area, a hotspots and thin smoke plume is apparent. Not much information is available on this fire.

Most serious are fires further to the south in the Lancelin area, near Wedge Island. The smoke plume here is quite thick and readily apparent on the image. Several sources of smoke are apparent. This fire has burnt 4200 ha and has been burning since the afternoon of the 26th. Wildfire activity was reported in this vicinity in early January also.

The FESA website also suggests a few fires burning in the vicinity of Perth yesterday, although these are not readily apparent in the MODIS imagery.

Weather-wise, conditions across WA have been brutal. Temperatures were in low to mid-40s in this area of the state, with relative humidities generally below 20% (and lower) with moderate winds -- dangerous fire weather condition. Fire weather conditions are expected to remain dangerous for the next several days.

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