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Australian bushfire season 2018-19 (Weather)

by dulan drift, Tuesday, November 13, 2018, 08:19 (570 days ago)

Noticed something a bit worrying today - according to official warnings, the area where I am currently living, south east Queensland, the fire danger is rated at 'Very High'. That's not too bad - there are another two levels above that: 'Extreme' and 'Catastrophic'.

What concerns me though is the number of 'permit burns' going on, given we are just one 40C windy day away from extreme conditions. A 'permit burn' is when a farmer is given permission to carry out a fuel reduction burn on their property. Typically they will try to create a buffer between their property and an adjoining National Park - which makes sense - but is this the right time of year to be doing that?

There is a 50-50 chance of some storms coming through this week. If we get that rain, things should be ok. If we don't, all those fires - and I can see two of them from my porch which have already been burning for three weeks - are going to explode.


Australian bushfire season 2018-19

by dulan drift, Friday, November 23, 2018, 06:12 (560 days ago) @ dulan drift

Some extreme conditions today - winds up to 80kph.

Two bushfires in NSW but no reports of houses lost so far

Extreme conditions in parts of WA with the 'catastrophic' warning issued for some areas.

Dust storm where I am (and over most of NSW and SEQ - air described as 'hazardous') - we did get some rain this week which will hopefully be enough to stop the fires running riot here - but it's hot and the wind is blowing - and at least one of the permit fires that has been burning for weeks survived the rain coz I could still see it smoking up yesterday

What's really missing is a decent fire watch map. Seems way behind the typhoon charts and forecasts, even though it's a very similar thing really - affected by winds - reasonably predictable in terms of where it's going to go - would be a great help to people trying to make a plan

Australian bushfire season 2018-19

by dan @, Friday, November 23, 2018, 19:38 (559 days ago) @ dulan drift

So is this situation unusual or a yearly concern?

Australian bushfire season 2018-19

by dulan drift, Sunday, November 25, 2018, 13:53 (557 days ago) @ dan

Its a yearly concern - there have always been bushfires in Australia - some of the vegetation actually needs a bushfire to trigger reproduction. Eucalyptus trees have plenty of oil so they burn pretty good.

The question is whether it will be exacerbated by climate change. Obviously the worst years are the dry ones - then it's a matter of getting a run of days with extreme conditions - usually high 30's then one 40+C and big winds.

The most bushfire prone area is down south. Although the winters are quite cold there the humidity is very low and it doesn't often get those big summer downpours typical of tropical climates - in fact two months without rain during summer is not unusual. If that follows on from a dry spring, then that's when it gets dangerous.

Actually, this year, I think the spring rains were ok down south, so should be ok - but there will always be something happening.

The northern fire season is about now, spring time, as they usually have a dry winter, but then the summer storms and humidity are generally enough to prevent anything too serious.

Australian bushfire season 2018-19

by dulan drift, Monday, November 26, 2018, 18:29 (556 days ago) @ dulan drift

Serious bushfires have broken out in central east Queensland, which is even further north than I would have thought. There's been no mention how the fires started but I bet it was a so called 'permit burn' that was started by some farmer to backburn a buffer to his property and then just left to burn in the hope that the summer rains would come like normal and put it out. It didn't. What did come was record heat and big dry westerlies coming directly off the desert.

Drove a 150km coming back home today (well south of the wildfires) and saw four or five of these back burns. Right now the conditions here are 'borderline' - it's hot but no big wind - but if that wind comes it's absurd having theses backburns smouldering away - forget about a faulty electricity-line - these are big, untended fires covering 100's of hectares that are set to explode.

Australian bushfire season 2018-19

by dulan drift, Tuesday, November 27, 2018, 19:09 (555 days ago) @ dulan drift

They are now reporting 80 fires in Queensland! Funnily enough that's about the same number of current 'permit burns' that are currently authorised.

The commentary coming out from the authorities is that this an 'unprecedented' event and urging everyone to 'leave their homes' nd act with 'extreme caution' - how about a bit of fucking caution with lighting these fires in the first place!

And given they didn't do that, for God's sake put all those permit burns the fuck out immediately!

Weather conditions for tomorrow are not good - hot and windy

No major rain forecast - temps predicted to hit 43C here this coming Monday. It's already a disaster - but might be just getting started

Here's the screenshot from today from the rural fire authority site.


Australian bushfire season 2018-19

by dan @, Wednesday, November 28, 2018, 05:52 (555 days ago) @ dulan drift

Good Lord! It looks like it would be hard not to run into a fire if you venture out. 43, dry, and windy doesn't sound good.

Australian bushfire season 2018-19

by dulan drift, Wednesday, November 28, 2018, 14:23 (554 days ago) @ dan

As it's turned out, today conditions already became extreme - hot, dry, big winds, up to 80kph

There are now 130 odd fires going in Queensland apparently.

Just drove into the post office 6 km away and saw three of them on the way - luckily they're down wind of here.

Despite wall to wall media coverage of the fires there has still been no mention of how they all started.

Australian bushfire season 2018-19

by dulan drift, Wednesday, November 28, 2018, 17:53 (554 days ago) @ dulan drift

Here's a map of current fires for Queensland


Australian bushfire season 2018-19

by dan @, Wednesday, November 28, 2018, 18:09 (554 days ago) @ dulan drift

That must affect the air quality over a wide area. With the California fires, the air hundreds of miles away was bad enough that they were canceling school.

Australian bushfire season 2018-19

by dulan drift, Sunday, December 02, 2018, 07:53 (551 days ago) @ dan

Yeah, it looks like Taipei on a bad day out there at the moment.

Today we're going back into the danger zone - temps above 40C with increasing winds and over 100 fires going across the state.

Still not a single question from the media as to how these fires started in the first place. Apart from that, the media hysteria is in full-swing.

The fact is, these fires were deliberately lit. They are the result of an out of control 'Permit Burn' system that allowed farmers to light over 100 fires across the state, as conditions worsened, and without ever putting them out. My guess is that they have been doing this for years and used to rely on seasonal November/December storms to extinguish them but this year the rains didn't come. Well they did, but not with quite enough volume to douse the 100 or so fires they'd deliberately lit. Then conditions really turned ugly.

Now the Queensland rural fire authority keeps talking about the 'unprecedented' conditions. The thing is, for the last 20 years there's been a bit in the news about this concept called 'climate change'. 'Unprecedented' is the new 'precedented'. It's disingenuous to say 'oh, who knew?'

The other weird thing is that the Queensland fire authorities still haven't called a Total Fire Ban throughout this fiasco - even when conditions were rated as 'Catastrophic'. We had one Total Fire Ban day back in August, but nothing since. Traditionally, late winter has been the fire season here coz it's the time of no rain and high winds, but for some reason the fire authorities can't make the mental switch that things have changed. 'Stupid' is a word that springs to mind. Now, having caused these fires, the same people are in charge of strategy for putting them out - doesn't fill me with confidence.

Australian bushfire season 2018-19

by dulan drift, Sunday, December 02, 2018, 13:16 (550 days ago) @ dulan drift

NW winds are gusting up but not as strong as a few days ago, around 20-40kph. Temp: 41. You know it's dry when you're clothes washing is ready to take in 10 minutes after you hung it out, albeit with a slight smoky flavour.

If you stand out in it, the weather has this 'otherworldly' feeling - a 'future-gone-bad' movie -. there's an awesome menace to it.

360 degree smoke haze so hard to know exactly where the fires are, but can assume from what I saw a few days ago.

In the Warrill Hill/Harrissville/Boonah/Kalbah/Aratula area there are at least four 'Permit fires' burning in the scenic rim mountains. Bush residents in those areas would want to be on alert.

One or more of those is to the north west of here which is where the wind is coming from.


Bushfire sunset


OfficialPermit Burn map from the Queensland Rural Fire Authority, late Nov 2018


This photo was taken on Oct 26. Around that time there were farmers lighting fires galore. As a Victorian, it was a shock, especially as no efforts appeared to be being made to put them out. With below average rains they just kept smouldering away


Australian bushfire season 2018-19

by dan @, Monday, December 03, 2018, 15:51 (549 days ago) @ dulan drift

Isn't that a major tourist destination? I would think this is economically bad, in addition, of course, to one's health.

If it makes you feel any better, it's regularly hitting below 0 C every night now, and I had to shovel snow off my walk at 6:10am before I went to work the other day. The air, however, is spotless.

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