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Sydney Basin ‘primed’ for early bushfire season

Dry winter conditions in NSW, marked by record warm temperatures in July and low rainfall, may bring an early start to the bushfire season, according to academics.

New modelling based on Bureau of Meteorology data and NASA satellite imaging shows conditions mirror those of 2013, when NSW and Victoria suffered destructive fires.

“This research has found we’re approaching a crucial dryness threshold, past which fires are historically far more dangerous,” the academics’ commentary in The Conversation says.

“It’s clear that much of the Sydney Basin is dangerously primed for major bushfires, at least until it receives major rainfall.

“Forecasts for windy but largely dry weather in coming weeks may exacerbate this problem.”

Mapping shows critically dry live fuel is much more abundant now than in 2013, according to Western Sydney University’s Matthias Boer, University of Technology Sydney’s Rachael Nolan and University of Wollongong’s Ross Bradstock.

“Preparation by both fire management authorities and exposed homeowners is now an immediate priority to cope with the strong likelihood of an early and severe fire season.”