Seasonal bush fire outlook 2015/2016
WESTERN AUSTRALIA In Western Australia, for the Western Gascoyne, there is normal fire potential due to average rainfall and grass growth. In the Murchison, Goldfields and Desert areas, there is above normal fire potential as a consequence of high fuel loads from above average rainfall. The Central West, Wheat belt and Great Southern regions have average grass fuel loads as a result of average to below average rainfall, leading to normal fire potential. In the South West, a lack of rainfall, a long term deficit in the soil moisture and high fuel loads have led to above normal fire potential. In the South East, higher-than average rainfalls east of Norseman have created higher fuel loads, leading to above normal fire potential. Although the El Niño continues to strengthen, the correlation between El Niño and rainfall and temperature patterns is weaker for Western Australia than it is for the eastern states. In an average El Niño, daytime temperatures across the southern half of the state are higher and the wet season onset typically occurs later in the season. However, every event is different and El Niño is not the only influence on rainfall and temperature; other factors, such as warmer than-average sea surface temperatures to the north of Australia and in the Indian Ocean, will also affect the climate, and hence, bushfire potential across Western Australia.