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Southern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for 2018

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Climate

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC have released the Southern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for 2018. They state, “With much of southern Australia experiencing a combination of above average temperatures and below average rainfall this year, large parts of the country face above normal bushfire potential over the coming months”.

In the Wheatbelt NRM region, the area of “above normal” fire potential in 2018 is mapped to the western fringe in the local government areas (LGA) of Toodyay, Northam and York and an area on the southern boundary in the LGA of Lake Grace and Kent (Figure 1). The remaining area is classified as having a “normal” bushfire potential. For a more in-depth analysis of this season’s fire potential, read the Hazard Note.

The potential for bushfires varies annually depending on the seasonal conditions, ignition sources, management and mitigation inventions and fuel loads. The CSIRO long-term projections for climate change in the south-west of WA suggest that the danger of extreme fire danger days will increase where fire occurrence and intensity are largely determined by temperature and wind strength.

For now though, the potential for fire is only a guide, all landholders should be prepared for fire and take advantage of the tools available. Landgate’s  Fire Watch  website provides fire information and the My FireWatch tool available through this website provides bushfire information in a quickly accessible form for general public use.

Figure 1. The area of above normal bushfire potential for the 2018 fire season. Data sources: Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and Landgate.