Extreme Heatwave In Western Australia Raises Bushfire Risk

by | Jan 20, 2024 | Climate Crisis, Environmental News

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This Saturday, an extreme heatwave in Western Australia has enveloped parts of the region, significantly escalating the threat of bushfires. The Bureau of Meteorology has issued an “extreme heatwave warning” for the remote areas of Pilbara and Gascoyne, with temperatures expected to soar to the high forties degrees Celsius over the weekend.

The mining town of Paraburdoo in Pilbara, located about 1,500 km north of Perth, the state capital, is bracing for a maximum temperature of 47 degrees Celsius (116.6 degrees Fahrenheit) on Saturday amid the Extreme heatwave in Western Australia. As per the forecaster’s data, this forecast exceeds the average January maximum by over six degrees. As of 11:00 a.m. local time (0300 GMT), the temperature in Paraburdoo had already reached a scorching 42.7 C (108.8 F).

This heatwave comes close to the record-setting 50.7 C (123.2 F) temperature logged at Pilbara’s Onslow Airport on January 13, 2022, the highest ever recorded in Australia.

With Saturday’s blistering temperatures, the risk of bushfires has been significantly heightened. This year’s fire season is already considered high-risk, partly due to the El Nino weather pattern, which often brings about extreme conditions such as wildfires, cyclones, and droughts.

Extreme Heatwave In Western Australia Raises Bushfire Risk

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned that “very hot and dry conditions combined with fresh southerly winds and a fresh to strong west to southwesterly sea breeze will lead to elevated fire dangers on Saturday,” particularly in parts of Pilbara.

This warning follows a recent bushfire near Perth, where hundreds of firefighters battled an out-of-control blaze earlier this month, exacerbated by soaring temperatures and leading to evacuations.

The last two Australian fire seasons have been relatively mild compared to the devastating 2019-2020 “Black Summer” bushfires. These fires ravaged an area as large as Turkey, resulting in the deaths of 33 people and an estimated 3 billion animals, along with countless invertebrates.

As Western Australia grapples with the extreme heatwave, authorities remain on high alert, with the potential for bushfires to rapidly develop and spread in these parched and scorching conditions.

Also Read: Nunavut Gains Control: Canada Empowers Arctic Region Mineral Riches

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