High fire danger for parts of WA as indicated by Bureau of Meteorology advice for cooking in the hot summer

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Parts of south-west Western Australia and Gascoyne, including Perth, are expected to see increased fire potential this year as the state is expected to bake through another hot summer.

Released today, the seasonal bushfire outlook for 2021 indicates that higher than normal grass fuel loads, combined with high temperatures expected over the summer, have increased fire potential.

“This should result in above normal fire potential for Pilbara, Gascoyne and Murchison as well as the Swan Coastal Plain, Jarrah Forest and most of the western parts of the Esperance Plains and Mallee Bioregions,” indicates the report.

Normal fire potential is expected for the rest of the state, including the far north.

Rain delays fire season

Jon Broomhall from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said that normally the bushfire season would start in November, but due to a wet winter and spring it was expected to start later.

But he warned that once the ground dries out, the risk of bushfires would be increased.

“As the soil dries out across the landscape and temperatures rise, it increases the risk of bushfires,” Mr Broomhall said.

DFES Assistant Commissioner John Broomhall says things can change very quickly during fire season.(ABC News: Evelyn Manfield)

“All it takes is one hot, windy day for a bushfire to break out.”

He called on people to prepare their properties now and download the My Bushfire Plan app to their cellphones.

Hot, dry and humid

A map showing expected temperatures across Australia this summer
Maximum temperatures are expected to be above average from December to February in WA.(Supplied: BOM)

The Bureau of Meteorolgy (BOM) summer climate forecast, also released today, indicates that much of WA will have warmer than normal minimum and maximum temperatures, particularly for coastal areas.

The exception is the south coast, where temperatures will be closer to average.

For Perth, the average summer high is 30.7 degrees and the low is 17.6.

BOM operational climate services chief Andrew Watkins said it could also be wetter this year.

People in silhouette in front of the pylon at sunset at Cottesloe Beach on a hot day.
Warmer than average day and night temperatures are predicted for Perth this summer(ABC News: Hugh Sando)

The state is also expected to be average when it comes to rainfall – usually minimal during the South Australian summer.

This contrasts with the rainfall forecast for the east, with a higher risk of cyclones, heavy rainfall and flooding under the influence of La Nina.

Bureau of Meteorology climate predictions are based on the physics of the oceans, atmosphere, land, and ice, including long-term climate trends.

The length and severity of the fire season is increasing across much of Australia, particularly in eastern inland Australia and coastal Western Australia.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change identifies south-west Western Australia, in particular, as one of the few areas of the world where most models agree that drying will continue .

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