Vast areas of Northern Australia face above-normal fire potential for the remainder of the 2011 fire season.
This is the major point made in the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre’s Northern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia and Queensland.
The main cause of the above-normal risk is strong vegetation growth in many areas fuelled by the wet weather that accompanied the very strong La Niña event of 2010-11
In Western Australia, the Kimberley has an above-normal bushfire potential, with the fuel loads remaining significant despite increased prescribed burning across the region.
Large areas of Central Australia as well as the north-west coast of the Northern Territory can expect above-normal bushfire potential thanks to two years of above-average rainfall that has increased fuel loads and fuel continuity.
Queensland is facing above- normal fire potential over a vast area of coastal and inland areas of Central and Northern Queensland, thanks to abundant and continuous highly cured grassland.
Each year, the Bushfire CRC publishes separate seasonal outlooks for northern and southern Australia. The outlooks are prepared after meetings of fire and land managers and representatives from the Bureau of Meteorology and the Bushfire CRC. The fire season starts earlier in the north than in southern Australia, coinciding with the “Dry Season.”
The Southern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook will be available around the end of this month.
The Seasonal Outlook is published as a Bushfire CRC Fire Note and is available online here.