'Increased Fire Danger' For A Vast Area Of South-East Australia Today - In The Middle Of Winter

This map showing current fire advice roughly covers the affected area. Credit: rfs.nsw.gov.au

It’s still the middle of the southern winter, but Australian authorities have warned of a high fire danger across a vast area of the country’s east coast today.

This winter has been dry so far in southeastern Australia. An exceptionally warm May – the hottest on record worldwide – saw temperature records toppling in Sydney and Melbourne.

There’s also increasing certainty among meteorologists that the climate phenomenon known as El Nino – which typically causes drier winters in Australia – is taking hold in the Pacific.

It’s not expected to be very hot – the forecast is for a sunny day with temperatures of about 20C around Sydney – but the Rural Fire Service has warned high winds will increase the fire risk in an area stretching around 800km from the NSW-Queensland border to the NSW South Coast.

“Wednesday 9 July 2014 will see increased fire danger across parts of the state due to windy conditions,” the RFS said. “Affected areas stretch from the Queensland border to the Illawarra and South Coast. High to very high fire dangers are expected.

There’s no fire ban, but people have been urged to use caution with fire on their properties.

A map on the RFS website shows a number of fires, all either under control or being controlled, burning in the area affected by the warning.

Scientists are always cautious about linking single weather events to climate change. But we can be pretty sure it will be part of the conversation, regardless of whether it’s scientifically sound to link the two.

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