GFMC: Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

Bush and Forest Fires in Australia

17 February 2003

The NOAA/NESDIS Experimental Fire Potential Product
This product is based on the estimated intensity and duration of vegetation stress which can be used as a proxy for assessment of fire potential and danger. It combines two satellite-based indices – the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and thermal data from the NOAA AVHRR sensors. Area, intensity, and duration of vegetation stress, fire potential and danger can be estimated from colour-coded maps covering all continents. An introduction to the weekly updated products are accessible at:

click to enlarge (140 KB)

Latest weekly global fire potential product map, including Australia
(upper scene)
and comparison with the situation in the previous month (map below)
(Source: NOAA/NESDIS Experimental Fire Potential Product, prepared by Felix Kogan, Robert M.Carey and David Forsyth.)

Fire Weather Forecast for the Pacific Region

click here to enlarge (21 KB)

Fire Weather Index for the
Pacific Region for tomorrow.
(Source: ECPCFire Weather Index Forecast)

Actual Fire Situation Maps,Victoria
An actual fire situation map can be found directly at:
Statewide fire situation


DSE/DPI Update Monday February 17 2003 7:30am (Day 41)

Current Summary
· The area of most concern to fire crews continues to be the far western edge of the main fire (to the south of Mt Buffalo), in the Humffray River catchment area. Spotting from areas of Alpine Ash vegetation continues to test containment lines. Limited backburning was carried out overnight due to high humidity and areas of fog.
· The weather forecast for the next few days is for patchy rain to clear with cooler SW-SE winds developing. Warmer conditions are expected to arrive later in the week.
· To date, the Eastern Victorian fires have burnt 1.10 million hectares of Victorian parks and forests. This figure includes the large number of lightning-caused fires that were contained in the first weeks of January.

Current Going Fires
· The main Eastern Victorian fire, which stretches from Mt Buffalo in the west, to the NSW border and to the Tubbut area in East Gippsland, is still active and has burnt over 1.06 million hectares (this is nearly equivalent to the area within a 60 kilometre radius around Melbourne GPO).
· Increased fire activity in the Snowy River National Park has forced fire crews to fall back to the Yalmy Road. Significant preparation of this line has been completed but a further two days work is required before a major backburn can be attempted.

Weather in the north-east and East Gippsland
Today: Drizzle easing and becoming fine in the afternoon.
Tuesday: Fine day, slightly warmer, with winds S/SW, tending more easterly.
Wednesday: Fine apart from early morning fog patches, warmer, with winds E/NE.

Resources on the Eastern Fires
· Personnel currently involved:
– Around 2000 from the Government agencies
– approximately 750 CFA from outside the Region supporting local volunteer brigades
– 48 New South Wales
– 4 Tasmanian
– 31 New Zealand
– 35 USA
Around 40 aircraft, over 250 specialised vehicles, nearly 100 bulldozers, and a major commitment from the Gippsland based timber industry.

Fire Statistics
Victoria has around 7.7 million hectares of parks and forests. In an average summer around 620 wildfires occur and these burn around 110, 000 hectares. To date this season 714 fires have occurred. These have burnt over 1.3 million hectares. The 20-year average for this time of year is 347 fires, having burnt over 68, 000 hectares.

Source: DSE/DPI

CSA Fire Update

Stanley area – Fire update 17th Feb 7.30pm

CFA are currently in attendance at a small fire in the Stanley area.

The fire is approximately half way between Stanley and Beechworth on the Stanley Beechworth road.The fire is burning on public land and is entering a clear felled area of pine plantation.Actions by CFA and DSE to contain the fire are concentrating on the Beechworth end of the fire.CFA and DSE are in attendance and aircraft are also being utilised.

Churchill Fire Update 17th Feb 7pm
CFA are currently in attendance at a grass and scrub fire at Churchill in Gippsland.
The fire is travelling very slowly in rugged terrain and there is no risk to a nearby pine plantation at this stage.
CFA are likely to be on scene for some time and aircraft are being used to assist in fighting the fire.

Source: CFA (Country Fire Authority) 

Further informationand resources
Information hotlines for residents in the Towong Shire (02) 6071 5100 and theAlpine Shire 5755 0524
Victoria Police Information hotline (road closures) 1800 444 343
Parks Victoria Hotline 13 19 63
CFA Community Hotline 1800 240 667
Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) website
DSECommunity Updates – available for Upper Murray, Ovens and Kiewa Valley,Gippsland, Beechworth and Bogong fires. Detailed reports, produced daily.
NSW RuralFire Service website
…and stay tuned to your local radio station.

With letters directed to the A.C.T. Bushfire Service and the CFA Victoria on 26January 2003 the GFMC has offered liaison with Russia for the deployment ofIL-76 air tankers to assist the Australian authorities in fire suppression.

Currentweather situation, forecasts, fireweather Actual fire Situation Tasmania Actual Fire Situation Maps, Tasmania More Information on Australian Fires IFFN country notes Further Information Australian and New Zealand links. Background information Recent Media Highlights on Fire, Policies, and Politics

Australia´s fire seasons

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