The January 2020 seasonal fire danger outlooks have been produced, with the outlooks for each of the North and South Islands for January – March now available.
These provide a heads-up on how fire danger conditions are tracking in different parts of the country as we transition through summer.
The outlooks indicate increasing fire danger levels in many parts of the country as a result of warmer, drier conditions and drying soils. Cooler than average temperatures are expected to start the month of January, with more moderate temperatures forecast thereafter. Near normal rainfall totals are forecast, being a touch drier than average with the presence of high pressure systems. There is also the chance of spells of hot weather for New Zealand with warm Australian air masses anticipated to cross the Tasman Sea occasionally during the next month.
Vegetation and soil moisture levels over the summer months will continue to be affected by warm temperatures, low rainfall and strong gusty winds. This will result in the medium to heavy fuels continuing to dry out, elevating the fire risk and contributing to potential for deeper burning and faster moving fires.
Areas to keep an eye on for elevated fire risk include: Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Manawatu-Whanganui and Wairarapa in the North Island; and Nelson, Marlborough, Kaikoura, North and South Canterbury, and Otago in the South Island.
For those wanting to do further analysis, additional graphs comparing fire dangers (DC, BUI and CDSR) for each weather station are also available.