Article | Australia: Seasonal Wildfire Outlook 2022

By: Francisca Yunis Richter, based on the Seasonal Bushfire Outlook 2022, developed by the National Council for Fire and Emergency Services (AFAC), the Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, the NSW Rural Fire Service, ACT Emergency Services Agency, ACT Parks and Conservation Service, Country Fire Authority, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Victoria, Tasmania Fire Service, SA Country Fire Service, Department of Fire and Emergency Services and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions WA, and Bushfires NT, published on November 29 2022.

“The Outlook shows that while many parts of Australia saw above average rainfall and significant flooding this year, the saturated ground in many of these regions supports enhanced vegetation and fuel load growth. This, coupled with expected warmer and drier conditions later in the season, is generating varied fire potential for summer 2022” (AFAC, 2022). Here you can access the full publication: https://www.afac.com.au/auxiliary/publications/newsletter/article/seasonal-bushfire-outlook-summer-2022-australia-s-national-picture-of-fire-potential

Published on December 20, 2022

“Over the course of the summer, vegetation will naturally dry out with the normal seasonal cycle, and fire potential may rise quickly with any extended period of hot, dry and windy weather. This means that it is possible for regions of below normal bushfire potential at the start of summer to reach normal or above normal bushfire potential later in the season” (AFAC, 2022).

The possibility of wildfires or a number of fires occurring of such size, complexity, or another impact that resources are required beyond the region in which it originates, is referred to as fire potential. Many factors influence fire potential, including weather, fuel abundance, availability and how dry these various fuel types are, recent fire history, and firefighting resources available in an area (AFAC et al, 2022).

Even on a smaller scale, fire potential can vary enormously between nearby states and territories. Each state and territory’s assessment considers various land use and vegetation types. These are influenced by different temperature and rainfall forecasts for these regions. Due to the diversity of vegetation types in Australia, fire potential varies across jurisdictional borders (AFAC et al, 2022). “Observations show an increase in the intensity of heavy rainfall events in Australia that occur on timescales
of less than a day. The intensity of short-duration (hourly) extreme rainfall events has increased by around 10% or more in some regions and in recent decades, with larger increases typically observed in the north of the country” (CSIRO & The Bureau of Meteorology, 2022).

Source: Seasonal Bushfire Outlook (AFAC, 2022).

References

AFAC, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, NSW Rural Fire Service, ACT Emergency Services Agency, ACT Parks and Conservation Service, CFA, DELWP, Tasmania Fire Service, SA Country Service, & Department of Fire and Emergency Services and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions WA, and Bushfires NT. (2022, November 29). Seasonal bushfire outlook summer 2022: Australia’s national picture of fire potential. Available at: https://www.afac.com.au/auxiliary/publications/newsletter/article/seasonal-bushfire-outlook-summer-2022-australia-s-national-picture-of-fire-potential (Accessed 19/12/22)

CSIRO & The Bureau of Meteorology, 2022. State of Climate 2022. Available at: https://www.csiro.au/en/research/environmental-impacts/climate-change/State-of-the-Climate (Accessed 19/12/22)

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