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Bushfire potential 'remains higher during autumn'

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Some regions, including parts of WA, face above-normal fire potential this autumn, according to the latest seasonal report from the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Co-operative Research Centre (CRC).

Heavy rainfall in the early weeks of this year have eased the fire risk on average, but the centre says considerable danger remains in areas that continue to suffer from the long-running dry conditions.

“The fire potential remains high in some specific regions due to the long-term low rainfall,” the report says. “It is important to remember that areas designated as normal or below-normal fire potential may experience bushfire. Normal or below-normal risk does not mean there is no risk.”

Prescribed burning will be important if weather conditions and resources permit, the report says, although it is unclear at this point if the coronavirus outbreak will impede efforts to carry out the fire mitigation measure.

“It is anticipated that there will be impacts,” the report says.

In WA, above-normal fire potential remains for parts of the Swan Coastal Plain, Jarrah Forest, Warren, Mallee, Esperance Plains, Nullarbor and Hampton biogeographic regions.

“In the past two years the southwest has experienced unusually strong and dry pre-frontal winds associated with cold fronts in late autumn, highlighting the need for good burn security and situational awareness in the conduct of prescribed burning operations,” the centre says.

It says NSW faces a normal fire outlook for autumn but must watch out for unusual weather events that occasionally crops up at this time of the year.

A normal fire potential is also expected for SA, Victoria, Tasmania and the NT.