Large areas of NSW, Victoria, southern Queensland and WA face above-normal bushfire risk this summer, according to the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Co-operative Research Centre.
Its outlook for southern Australia also warns of an early start to the season in some areas, as the effects of El Nino combine with a long-term rainfall deficit.
“There has been more than a decade of below-average rainfall,” CEO Richard Thornton told insuranceNEWS.com.au.“
After a few hot days, areas will dry out very rapidly. And we have the complicating factor of El Nino, which is predicted to get stronger and could be a record.”
Dr Thornton says El Nino, which normally brings dry and warm conditions, is currently offset by a general warming of the Indian Ocean, which drives higher rainfall.
“There are two competing conditions and we will continue to watch developments to see which of them will be dominant.”
He says the outlook is probably on a par with the previous year.
“Last year we saw bad fires in WA, around Sydney and western Victoria.
“It must also be remembered that even in the ‘normal’ areas we will get bushfires – that is what happens in Australia. People always need to prepare and get plans in place.”
The outlook for northern Australia, released in July, shows increased risk in parts of the NT and across large areas of WA.
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