More bushfires predicted in year ahead
MORE bushfires are on the horizon for Tasmania as the state braces for a hotter and drier year in the next 12 months.
Sky News Weather says the conditions will mean bushfires are more likely in the state’s already-thirsty East Coast.
But in its annual severe weather outlook, it says the chances of severe, damaging thunderstorms in the state’s capital will be less.
The forecast said Australia had entered the severe weather season in uncharted territory because of an unprecedented drought crippling the east of the continent.
“While Tasmania has largely escaped the crippling drought conditions, it will be hotter and drier going forward into summer. The state’s East Coast is already dry with Swansea receiving only 287mm of rain since January 1 — just about half of the 483mm it usually receives,” Sky News Weather’s chief meteorologist Tom Saunders said.
The outlook for 2018-19 shows the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Co-operative Research Centre had predicted above-average fire potential through most forested regions of Australia.
The centre says Tasmania’s fire season will start normally but things will then heat up in the east.
“The western half of the state is very wet, and only the strip between Orford and St Helens on the East Coast is drier than average. This dry strip has above normal fire potential and the affected area may expand without significant rain in the coming months,” the centre’s report said.
“As in recent years, increased fire activity will probably occur in this dry strip before December and will require considerable response efforts.”
Last month TFS chief officer Chris Arnol said the strip of the East Coast between Triabunna and larapuna/Eddystone Point was drier than average and fires were likely to start in this area earlier in the season than the rest of the state.
“Last year we had some early bushfire activity on the East Coast, and this year we are expecting similar circumstances because the East Coast is again drier than average due to a lack of winter rainfall,” Mr Arnol said.
“On average Tasmania experiences 1400 bushfires each summer all over the state. There is no escaping the fact that we live in a bushfire prone state and a ‘normal’ outlook means we will have bushfires. What’s important is that we use the information released by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre as a trigger point for bushfire planning and preparation.”
A fuel reduction burn is under way near St Helens with Sustainable Timber Tasmania focusing on a 1300ha area about 8km west of the township.
Sky News Weather says Hobart will have a hot and dry summer.
Hobart’s long-term average rainfall is 356.9mm a year. Last year the city received 306.8mm and this year is forecast to be drier again.
The Bureau of Meteorology is also forecasting a drier than average end to 2018 in Tasmania.
Sky News Weather said every Australian capital has recorded at least six consecutive years with above average maximum temperatures during the severe weather season.
On average Tasmania experiences 1400 bushfires each summer all over the state. There is no escaping the fact that we live in a bushfire prone state
ADVICE: Meteorologist Tom Saunders.