Bush and Forest Fires in Australia
15 January 2001
The Satellite Remote Sensing Services Department of Land Administration (DOLA) routinely evaluates the NOAA AVHRR satellite sensor to detect and locate vegetation fires and high-temperature events. In Australia hot events depicted by the satellite can represent wildfires or prescribed fires as well as industrial activities (e.g., gas flares, smelters) and hot surfaces (e.g., rocks heated by solar radiation during the daytime overpasses of the satellite). Thus, DOLA displays two products of hot spot maps: the automatically generated high-temperature event maps (which include false alarms) and the manually generated fire maps. All hotspot locations are geo-referenced and where required as Australian Map Grid. On some days up to four NOAA-AVHRR passes are used to identify hot events.
The manual method (human operator) provides greater accuracy however it takes longer. Thus, the issue of the manually generated fire maps is delayed (not real-time). Hot spots are located using NOAA-AVHRR channel 3 on early morning (0050-0340hrs) and mid morning (0450-0630hrs) images.
Fire Detection Map for Australia for 15 January 2001 overlaid on a pan-Australian vegetation cover map.
Source fire coordinates (manual): Satellite Remote Sensing Services Department of Land Administration (DOLA)
Source of vegetation and fuel type map: Luke and McArthur (1977)
(Please take into account, that this presentation mainly represents fire events from Western Australia and Northern Territories)
Melbourne shrouded by worst haze in 18 years (published by PlanetArk, January 15, 2001)
AUSTRALIA: January 14, 2001
MELBOURNE - Thick haze smothered Melbourne on Friday from bushfires as far as 200 kilometres (125 miles) away, creating the worst pollution since deadly fires raged near the city 18 years ago. "Data shows that we haven't had conditions as bad as this since the Ash Wednesday fires in 1983," Chris Bell, air quality spokesman for the Environment Protection Authority, told Reuters. The air reeked of smoke which started blowing in on Thursday evening, brought by a southwesterly wind which then stopped abruptly, leaving the haze over the city. "It's a bit encouraging to see some sun now because it'll warm the cold air mass up. But winds are predicted to be pretty light today, so we'd expect these conditions to persist most of the day," Bell told Reuters. Bushfires have been burning for days in the west and southwestern parts of the state of Victoria, including on King Island in the Bass Strait south of Melbourne. Despite the heavy smog, play continued at a warm-up tennis tournament for the Australian Open, the year's first grand slam event, which begins on Monday.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology is the National Meteorological Service for Australia and provides essential meteorological services to all sectors of the Australian community.
Fire danger :
Northern Territory Low Western Australia CENTRAL WEST Very High LOWER WEST Very High CENTRAL WHEATBELT Extreme GREAT SOUTHERN Very High to Extreme SOUTHWEST High SOUTH COASTAL Very High TOWN OF PORT HEDLAND High SHIRE OF ROEBOURNE High SHIRE OF ASHBURTON High SHIRE OF EAST PILBARA High KIMBERLEY Fire season finished
For further information on wildfires in South Australia see South Australian Country Fire Service.
For more informations on Australia see the IFFN country notes and have a look at the Austalian and New Zealand links.