The fire season of 2020/21 will be directly impacted by differing climate conditions than the previous two years, according to the Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook report released yesterday.
The report outlined how the expected La Nina will result in wetter than average weather conditions to spread across eastern and northern Australia.
“While these wetter conditions in eastern Australia will help in the short term, they may lead to an increase in the risk of fast running fires in grasslands and cropping areas over summer”, said Dr. Richard Thornton, the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Chief.
There is a 70% chance of the La Nina forming in 2020, which is approximately triple the standard likelihood of this weather event happening in Australia.
NSW and Victoria are forecasted to experience a ‘normal’ 2020-21 bushfire season.
For Western Australia and the NT however, conditions will continue to be dry resulting in above normal fire risks.
Dr. Richard Thornton warned Australians in the statement: “Do not be complacent about fire. Fire is a regular occurrence across Australia, and it is important to remember that areas designated as normal fire potential will still see fires”.
The long-term global trend of warmer climate conditions has lead to the increase in extreme bushfire events, and so far 2020 has continued bringing warmer than average temperatures for much of north and west of Australia.
After the devastating 2019/20 bushfire season, now known as the ‘Black Summer’ event, there has been increasing pressure on the government to ensure that we are better prepared for future fire seasons.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has already confirmed last week that NSW will adopt all 76 recommendations delivered in the bushfire inquiry report.
“We have to accept [also] our climate is changing and those who wrote the report acknowledge that”, she said in a press conference.
The next Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook report is due to be released in November with further updates on the 2020-21 fire season.