Fires in Victoria, Australia

Fires in Australia

20 December 2006

Fires in Alpine National Park, Victoria

Throughout December 2006, large bushfires raged throughnational parks and other remote areas of Victoria’s Barry Mountains. Despitethe fact that summer was not officially underway, the late spring weather wasextremely challenging for firefighters: hot, windy, and dry. Rough estimatesbased on preliminary maps from the government’s VictoriaParks Website indicated that more than 470,000 hectares (close to 1.2million acres) had burned as of December 15.

This image from NASA’s Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and ReflectionRadiometer (ASTER) on the agency’s Terra satellite shows fires burning in the heart of Alpine National Park, roughly 57kilometers (a little over 35 miles) southeast of the town of Mansfield. Theimage uses not only visible light detected by ASTER, but also shortwave- andnear-infrared light. Vegetation appears red, burned areas appear charcoal, bareground (including roads) appears light beige, and smoke is gray. Plumes of smokefrom individual fires billow southeast (the image is rotated counterclockwiseoff North) and spread into a blanket of haze.

Alpine is Victoria’s largest national park, covering 646,000 hectares (nearly1.6 million acres) of the state’s highest mountains. A mixture of alpine andsub-alpine ecosystems exists in the park, including snow gum (a kind ofeucalyptus) forest and high plains covered by grasslands. More than 1,000species of native plants live within the park, as well as threatened and rareanimals. Many areas and roads in the park were closed because of the dangerousfire conditions.

20 December  2006

Fires in Victoria

Clouds over the December 16-17 weekend may have kepttemperatures down a bit, but they apparently did little to quench dozens oflarge fires raging in the Barry Mountains of Victoria, Australia. This image ofthe area was captured on December 18, 2006, by the Moderate Resolution ImagingSpectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Places where MODIS detected actively burning fires are outlined inred. Thick smoke billows eastward from the fires across Victoria and New SouthWales. Fires burned throughout the state during December.

18 December  2006

The large image provided above has a spatial resolution (level of detail) of250 meters per pixel. An image from the previous satellite overpass was stitchedto the east (right) edge to show the extent of the smoke over the Tasman Sea.

(source: EarthObservatory).

The current situation in Australia is covered by a number of detailedreports (see GFMC Media web page):

Further Information on the Fire Situation in Australia:

SA Country Fire Service  Near-Real Time Wildland Fire Monitoring  Current weather situation, forecasts, fireweather More Information on Australian Fires IFFN country notes Department of Sustainability and Environment

Tasmania Fire Service

Further Information Australian and New Zealand links. Background information Recent Media Highlights on Fire, Policies, and Politics

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