The Australasian Fire and Emergency Service (AFAS)’s Bushfire Seasonal Outlook says most of the country is facing “normal bushfire potential” but has warned “destructive and deadly fires” could still occur.
While parts of New South Wales with heavy crop loads and high grass could face a higher threat of bushfires, the outlook predicted a “below normal” threat for the state “due to increased rainfall and areas burnt during the 2019-20”.
The same prediction was made for Victoria and the ACT.
A ‘normal’ bushfire potential prediction has been made for most of Australia as emergency services prepare for summer temperatures. Picture: Sam Mooy/Getty Images
“Recent rainfall has resulted in average to above average soil moisture and stream flows across large parts of of eastern Australia,” the report read.
“Influenced by the current La Niña event, the outlook for summer suggests above-average rainfall is likely over eastern parts of the country.”
The Bureau of Meteorology announced the weather event in the Pacific Ocean which will bring wet conditions to eastern and northern Australia in the coming months.
Head of Operational Climate Services at the Bureau of Meteorology Dr Andrew Watkins warned La Niña also incurred a heightened risk of flooding as Australia already had “quite wet soils, quite full rivers and quite high catchments at the moment”.
She said the silver lining, however, is “it tends to reduce the bushfire risk in terms of those big wildfires that we saw a few years ago.”
Australia’s east coast in for a wet summer as BoM declare La Niña event
The Bushfire Seasonal Outlook is an important tool for fire and emergency services in preparing their responses ahead of Australia’s bushfire season, according to AFAC Director National Projects and Innovation Rob Webb.
“This is especially important as they balance the risk of bushfire this summer with the risks associated with a La Niña event, such as an increased chance of rainfall and the number of tropical cyclones that form,” he said.
“Managing these concurrent risks reflects the complex environment that fire and emergency service professionals operate in. The Outlook is the result of fire agencies working together to map Australia’s fire potential for the upcoming season, and provides the evidence base for agencies to make key decisions to keep communities safe this summer.”
The Outlook also forecast “above normal bushfire potential” for Western Australia which is said was driven by above average daily minimum and maximum temperatures in conjunction with above average grass fuel loads.
“Each state and territory’s assessment considers different land use types and vegetation types,” the Outlook explained.
“This in turn is influenced by different forecasts for temperature and rainfall over these regions. The Outlook provides further detail on each state and territory’s fire potential.”

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