The first of the monthly seasonal fire danger outlooks for 2019/20 are now available, with the outlooks for each of the North and South Islands for December – February now available.
These provide a heads-up on how fire danger conditions are tracking in different parts of the country as we transition from spring into summer.
Based on information from both NIWA and MetService, as well as current fire danger conditions from Fire & Emergency New Zealand, these indicate that westerly airflows are likely to continue through December, bringing above normal temperatures for most, wetter conditions in western areas of the South Island, and drier than normal in northern and eastern areas. Fire dangers for December are expected on average to remain Low to Moderate for the West Coast, Southland and most of the North Island, but areas to keep a watch on for elevated fire risk are Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Manawatu, Wairarapa, Marlborough, and parts of Canterbury and Otago. During periods of hot and windy weather, High or Extreme fire dangers are very likely.
The meteorologists are suggesting that this summer could be a summer of two halves, with potentially a change occurring around February that could mean a switching over of those areas currently wet becoming drier, and vice versa. Further information on this will be included in future fire climate outlook produced at the beginning of each month.
For those wanting to do further analysis, additional graphs comparing fire dangers (DC, BUI and CDSR) for each weather station are also available.