‘Slots’ may accelerate fires, says researcher

‘Slots’ may accelerate fires, says researcher

5 December 2006

published by www.abc.net.au

Australia — A bushfire researcher says slots or super dry air which reaches the earth’s surface from a high altitude may have accelerated some of Australia’s worst fires.

Dr Graham Mills is investigating the phenomenon in relation to the fatal bushfire on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula in 2005 and the Canberra fires of 2003.

He says satellite imagery has revealed a dry slot moving towards Canberra on the day the blaze hit the city.

“My hope would be that we would have some hours of warning for at least some of these events,” he said.

“So it’s not a long term forecast process but in a situation where you have an active fire, with firefighters out on the fire-ground, trying to fight the fire, if we can give them two or three hours warning that the fire activity could increase dramatically then that could both help the process and also make their lives a little bit safer.”

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