Vast swathes of Australia face above average chances of grass fires and bushfires this summer, after months of above average temperatures.
The last 12 months have been the warmest on record, according to the weather bureau, and most states recorded their warmest winter since records began.
More recent warm weather, coupled with generous rainfalls has led to a build up of dry fuel in grasslands and forests. This is from the newly released Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre bushfire outlook for the south of the country.
It finds that above normal fire potential is predicted across the country, particularly in NSW and Victoria.
NSW – with the exception of north-eastern coastal areas and the far west – is expecting above average bushfire conditions this season. In fact the Rural Fire Service has said it has already dealt with a significant number of bushfires after one of the state’s warmest winters on record. The areas of most concern include the Tablelands, the Upper Hunter and west of the Great Dividing Range.
For Victoria, the Bushfire CRC’s outlook said: “Forests are expected to be more flammable than normal due to the lingering effect of last summer’s extreme dryness and heat.”
More bushfires are predicted for parts of South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland. Normal fire activity is expected across Tasmania, but small areas in the Derwent Valley and the mid-east coast are currently drier than usual.