Brought to you by:

Queensland, NSW at heightened summer bushfire risk 

Large areas of Queensland, NSW and the NT are at increased risk of summer bushfires after above average August to October maximum temperatures. 

Australia has experienced record-breaking dry conditions and warmer than average temperatures during early spring. NSW and WA hit the highest maximum temperature since records began in 1910 during August-October, while Australia as a whole had the second-highest.  

Hot and dry conditions are expected to persist into the new year for many locations, says AFAC, the national council for fire and emergency services. 

In NSW, large areas are in drought and expected above-normal temperatures in summer are predicted to see the landscape dry out more quickly after rainfall. AFAC says there is a significant risk coastal western and northern NSW will see increased fire potential in summer after a number fires around the state were able to make “rapid and damaging runs” in spring. 

In Queensland, a continuation of intense late spring fire conditions into the summer months is likely for much of the state. Below average rainfall, elevated fuel growth and record rainfall deficiencies across southern parts of Queensland throughout the late winter and spring months has “primed many parts of the state” for an extended fire season.  

“The drying fuels, forecast rainfall and above average temperatures are likely to bring locally intense bushfires that may be destructive.” 

Some areas of Tasmania, Victoria, SA and WA are also at heightened bushfire risk and areas burnt during Black Summer have regrown rapidly “to the point where they are able to carry fast moving and dangerous bushfires,” AFAC says in its summer bushfire outlook. 

“The speed of this recovery is unusual. Typically, areas burnt this recently would slow or limit the spread of new fires.” 

In Victoria, above-average fire potential is expected in eastern, western and central areas, including along the Surfcoast, through summer.  

In Tasmania, areas of the Midlands, East Coast and South East are significantly drier than normal. There were several difficult fires in spring and grassland curing is advancing rapidly in drier locations. 

In SA, fuel dryness is particularly above average in the West Coast, Lower Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula, Upper and Lower South East and Kangaroo Island.  

In WA, summer conditions are “highly likely to be challenging for firefighting” for parts of southern WA, while a later than usual northern rainfall onset may increase bushfire risk to the north.