This spring, we’ve experienced the worst bushfire season in recorded history for the state of Queensland and the northeast quarter of NSW. We look at why this bushfire season is so severe and the ‘perfect storm’ of climatic patterns that have all culminated to generate such significant bushfires.
Firstly – bushfires aren’t rare in these areas of Australia, but the ferocity of these bushfires has been unusual. The main bushfire season for Queensland and northeast NSW typically occurs in late winter and early spring. This coincides with the driest time of year. It may seem more logical that mid-summer would be the worst time since it’s hotter (and bushfires certainly do occur in summer), but summer is typically wetter which means the vegetation is a little more resilient to burning. Summer in this region is normally less windy than spring – and if it is windy, those winds typically come from the ocean where humidity levels are higher. It’s the southern states (Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania & southern NSW/ACT) that experience their peak bushfire season in late summer because this is the driest period of the year for these areas (and also the hottest). This can be seen with the average rainfall charts for Australia that shows significant rainfall differences between the cooler and warmer months across Australia.