First of Fire Climate Outlooks produced for 2020/21 fire season

Scion’s Rural Fire Research Group has published the first of its Seasonal Fire Danger Outlooks for this season, describing the fire climate potential for the three-month period from October to December 2020.

These outlooks provide a heads-up on how fire danger conditions are tracking in different parts of the country as we transition through autumn into summer. Reports are available for both the North and South Islands.

These indicate the potential for moderate La Niña conditions to influence fire dangers in some areas. This is particularly the case for inland parts of the South Island, where fire dangers could increase initially due to strong, gusty westerly winds. Combined with frost cured grasslands, these have already contributed to several large and devastating wildfires in the Mackenzie Basin, at Pukaki Downs in late August, and more recently at Lake Ohau.

More prevailing westerly winds during spring could also see conditions drying out further in already dry easterly regions. As the fire season progresses, conditions are then expected to change, bringing more moist north-easterly air flows over summer months which could see reduced fire dangers in eastern areas of both islands. An article on what La Nina might mean for fire dangers across the country, based on these Outlooks, featured in the NZ Herald.

For those wanting to better understand current conditions in their patch, graphs comparing fire dangers (DC, BUI and CDSR) for individual weather station locations are also available.

Photo Credit: Bejon Haswell/Stuff
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