Aug 20th, Australia is still in winter, however, a long dry spell which has seen most of the east coast of Australia in drought has made for an early start to the fire season, the state of New South Wales alone has 6 major fires to contend with. These fires are ranging in size from 2000 hectares to 5000 hectares.
The fires so far have taken the life of a helicopter pilot when it appears that his bucket became caught in trees. There have been numerous reports of homes being burnt down and towns put at risk. Queensland has similar experiences with winter fires.
The weather bureau is predicting no relief in the near future with the dry weather continuing.
To show how bizarre the current weather patterns are, just two hours’ drive west from the Bemboka bushfire (in the south-east of NSW), at Perisher ski resort, police turned back would-be snow bunnies for several hours due to a severe snow storm.
Scientists are amazed that out-of-control bushfires are burning on the NSW south coast during winter, leading to a total fire ban across much of the state.
Equally troubling, one expert says, is global warming means the northern and southern hemisphere fire seasons are overlapping, which is stretching global firefighting resources.
We’ve got the largest fire complex burning in San Francisco and fires burning in the Glacier National Park on the Canadian border, where Australia has just sent crews to, and now we have this extreme weather fanning NSW fires in winter.
Professor Bowman, of the University of Tasmania, says many people are not aware bushfires can run riot without extreme heat if strong winds and enough dry fuel are present.
Those are the types of conditions likely to increase due to climate change.
Image for illustration purposes.