Not out of the woods yet: Increased fires risk despite wet start to summer

A photograph of a bushfire burning through tall grass.
16 January 2021

Victoria and NSW are still facing increasing bushfire risks this summer due to the growing likelihood of severe grass fires, despite recent wet weather and the vast amount of fuel burnt out by the Black Summer blazes a year ago.

Above-average rainfall has brought a welcome flush of green, watered the parched soil and replenished grass on the rangelands and pastures from northern Victoria, the Riverina and right across NSW, which had been stripped bare by years of drought.

But the east coast is not out of the woods, and with so much grass and fuel across the country, a run of several hot days will still bring extreme fire danger warnings.

"As we've seen in the past couple of weeks, it doesn't take many days in a row of hot temperatures to get grass fires running," Bushfire and Natural Hazards Co-operative Research Centre chief executive Richard Thornton said.

Read the full article on The Sydney Morning Herald website, featuring Prof Mark Howden