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Fire Weather, a new approach

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Phil23
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Re: Fire Weather, a new approach

Post by Phil23 »

Yes the rain was welcomed, but very patchy.

Yesterday afternoon saw a lower temperature & high winds & plenty of lightning activity.
Blitzortung was registering 210 strikes in the area to the East of us.

Not all of that would have made ground, but certainly a strike & large smoke plume was spotted on my Uncles property to the North.

Was speaking to him on the phone at the time & the plume was short lived, still the same, he cut the phone conversation short to head out for a look to ensure there was no smouldering remnants.

I get that hourly references to a fire index can be meaningless, but all the same it is interesting to see the movements of the charts.

Whether anything can be learnt from it I don't know.

Will post the XLS a bit later after adding some more data for today.

Edit:,

Just looking at the map again & it's fairly likely the fires called Guzzi & 10 Mile Rd, NE of Glen Innes would be results of yesterdays lightning.

Phil23
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Re: Fire Weather, a new approach

Post by Phil23 »

HansR wrote:
Mon 25 Nov 2019 3:00 am
In addition and as a result it seems as if at night the highly inflamable forests suddenly become much less dangerous: so, lets have a bbq at midnight :twisted: . The warning level is very low anyway, seen from the weather and the number of fires.
I repeat: hourly FWI is contraproductive, it has no meaning.
Hi Hans,

Yes you've mentioned on several occasions that hourly FWI is counter productive;
That's an area I've also pondered for several years in relation to the work that RFS does.

This first came to my attention several years back when I learnt the RFS personnel are required to take readings with a Kestrel Hand held weather station before taking action in the field; especially when requesting a back burn operation.

At the time I thought this was a ridiculous practice with no practical outcome.

At the time I heard of this Fire Fighters were working deep in the Sepoy State forest with poor communications.
They were unable to initiate back burns as they could not radio back data from their instruments, which I'd consider useless at that point in time.
Capture.JPG
Edit:-

Image from an article a few years back....

https://www.smh.com.au/national/catastr ... 1jjs9.html
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Phil23
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Re: Fire Weather, a new approach

Post by Phil23 »

An indication of the Lightning approaching us here.

http://map.blitzortung.org/#7/-30.208/150.814
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Re: Fire Weather, a new approach

Post by HansR »

Hi Phil,

Thanks for the messages showing some issues surrounding forest fires (which still haunt NSW and may be there for the rest of your summer, until all fuel is burnt up :( ). That would also mean a true ecological disaster. Less fire next year, that's true.

You point to two major things: 1) lightning and 2) fire-fighting / hourly warning levels

1) Lightning is probably the only relevant natural ignition cause (apart from volcanoes). Your image really shows as a threat. Curious if it generates additional fires.

2) But what really baffles me is the requirement for fire-fighters to look at the weather with a Kestrel (although you need to explain to me what a back burn is). I really don't understand. Of course I am too far away and I don't know the Australian situation, but still. I even do not understand 'poor communication'. Sure technique is such, that we can have good comms everywhere (apart from equipment failure)? Satellite phone etc...

It seems to me that a fire-fighter does not fight the fire ahead of the fire front, against the wind. You do not need a Kestrel for that. Or is it used for analysis afterwards? But even then: many studies have been made with PWSs as a chain in the warning system. Apparently never used in practice or abandoned for satellite systems.

I have a lot of respect for fire-fighters in the bush, especially the remote areas, but the kestrel won't help in fire fighting, at least I do not understand what they are trying to achieve. Determining the wind direction and force can be done by common sense, a capacity which will be more life saving than a Kestrel I guess.

I'd really love to spend a fortnight with those guys learning about bush fires in Australia 8-)
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Phil23
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Re: Fire Weather, a new approach

Post by Phil23 »

HansR wrote:
Tue 26 Nov 2019 6:48 am
you need to explain to me what a back burn is).
Basically a smaller more controllable fire ahead of the main fire front.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controlle ... ck_burning
I even do not understand 'poor communication'. Sure technique is such, that we can have good comms everywhere (apart from equipment failure)? Satellite phone etc...
Satellite phones are not used here.
Two way radio via repeater towers is how our communication network operates here.

These radios work in the 400MHz band and are very short range without a repeater (Tower on Hill).
If a unit can't reach a nearby repeater it can't communicate back to the RFS Headquarters.

https://nswrfs.atlassian.net/wiki/space ... tArea=true
It seems to me that a fire-fighter does not fight the fire ahead of the fire front, against the wind.
These are usually lit at the edge of the fuel load such that there is very limited fuel in the direction the wind is blowing.
Hence they move backward slowly against the wind with a lower intensity, starving the intense front from fuel when it arrives.
You do not need a Kestrel for that. Or is it used for analysis afterwards?
Determining the wind direction and force can be done by common sense, a capacity which will be more life saving than a Kestrel I guess.
No Post Analysis, Just a Classic example of our Bureaucratic Red Tape & Micro-management.
Common sense & experience gets less consideration than the decision of office staff reading operational guidelines.

Phil.

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Re: Fire Weather, a new approach

Post by HansR »

Phil23 wrote:
Tue 26 Nov 2019 7:57 pm
Basically a smaller more controllable fire ahead of the main fire front.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controlle ... ck_burning
Ah, thanks. OK, I know the technique (rarely used in EU, certainly not in NL. Not sure I agree with th etechnique. Lots of risks involved.
Phil23 wrote:
Tue 26 Nov 2019 7:57 pm
No Post Analysis, Just a Classic example of our Bureaucratic Red Tape & Micro-management.
Common sense & experience gets less consideration than the decision of office staff reading operational guidelines.
:lol: I get it, it's the same everywhere.
Thanks for the explanation. Have nice day, I am ready for the night.

Hans
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Phil23
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Re: Fire Weather, a new approach

Post by Phil23 »

Well have been scraping that data for a week now for what it's worth.
Capture.JPG
Looking at the data I get the sense that their algorithm follows wind speed fairly strongly.

While I disagree with the concept of fire risk being extremely low overnight, I do believe this would be in line with favourable Vs unfavourable fire fighting conditions.

I mentioned months back that a path of dry lawn ignited from my welder back in June; Winter...

I'm sure under current conditions the same would apply during the day, but on the ground gut feelings & feedback from bare feet on the grass pretty much indicate that that type of fuel would be rather difficult to ignite at night.

Attached is the Spreadsheet I mentioned.
Basically 10 minutes observations for the past 7+ days.

Cheers.

Phil.
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Re: Fire Weather, a new approach

Post by HansR »

Thanks for the zip. You make the point very clear.
And agreed that their FWI seems to be driven/calculated by humidity, temperature and heavily by wind.

But you must make a distinction between firefighting (fire propagation) conditions and ignition condition (about which I claim my pwsFWI says something). Also grass - especially open grass, so not inside a forest - will pick up humidity easily and it will feel wet on the feet. Still, the vegetation (or what is left of it in such dry conditions) remains dry, so lightning or whatever fire source may still ignite it though a bit less easy maybe. Even dry grass does not take up water that easy although it will do so easier than forests/trees.

It is a very complex situation.
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Re: Fire Weather, a new approach

Post by HansR »

@Phil: catastrophic (purple) warning coming up again. Still breathing?
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Phil23
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Re: Fire Weather, a new approach

Post by Phil23 »

Yes,

Very clear air here today, basically because of the Westerlies without dust.

Heading for 38 on my PWS tomorrow though,.
It is usually 3° lower than weatherzone as we are 80m lower & in the urban area.

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Re: Fire Weather, a new approach

Post by HansR »

For whoever likes reading articles.
I made a new blog on an article I found: Impact of anthropogenic climate change on wildfire.
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Phil23
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Re: Fire Weather, a new approach

Post by Phil23 »

It's been interesting over the past two weeks; the number of credible people coming out to the media here & stating that the Climate Change Emphasis on the current Fire situation needs to be sat aside & the issue of extreme fuel loads be addressed.

Regardless of what impact Climate is currently having, our fuel loads have been literally allowed to blow out of the water over the past 35 years.
Starting around 1994-5.

This can be experienced first hand by anyone who has spent decades visiting forested areas.

1000's of accounts & references are out there, but only now getting pointed out.

I could go on, but this post would end up as an essay.


Cheers

Phil.

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Re: Fire Weather, a new approach

Post by HansR »

@Phil: With fuel loads you touch on a very sensitive issue which touches forestry, ecology, society and human use of resources. It is far too complex to discuss here in a forum which basically deals with meteorology (not even climatology although it touches of course). Having said that, you understand I won't go in a real in depth discussion on this. But I will make some remarks:
  1. Fuel load basically is the amount of wooden biomass in a forest. This is determined by nature: soil, water, air, light...;
  2. Drought causes fuel aridity , not the other way around;
  3. Human influenced reduction of wood (you say fuel) will help desertification;
  4. The increasing aridity of the environment can be measured and apparently occurs everywhere (Australia, the US, Europe);
  5. Reduction of fuel loads will mean disappearance of forests with a lot of ecological consequences.
Personally I am not sure fuel load is a real problem, it's more of a perceived problem. The real problem seems to be the increasing aridity.
But one thing is sure: fuel loads are decreasing fast in Australia this way. The bushfires will stop by themselves when there are no more forests to burn. With dire ecological consequences.

And NOTE: in Europe (at least on the news channels I am watching), the news which comes from Australia these days in an almost daily frequency - which is rare by itself - is about the fires, burning koala's and the protests in Sydney against the government on their lack of action concerning the climate. That news may be biased, but that is how it comes to us (at least, to me). Fuel load is not a subject abroad. Drought is.
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Re: Fire Weather, a new approach

Post by HansR »

@Phil: http://www.bom.gov.au/nsw/forecasts/inverell.shtml 40 deg. from Thursday on. And summer hasn't started yet.
And apart from being a fireweather indicator it also gives a pretty good summary of what is going on in NSW (or all of Australia if I get it right)
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Phil23
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Re: Fire Weather, a new approach

Post by Phil23 »

Yes,

Had a few days of heat already, the 40.4° seen above on the 11th registered 38.5° at the BOM site for that day; the typical 3°C difference I usually see between here & the site up the hill. About 3.8km West & about 85m higher.

Prior to that we had 42.5° on 12th Feb 2017. BOM registered that day as hitting 41.1°.

It's not so much the temperatures that are the local concern, it's more the changing wind conditions which are not in line with predictions.

Around 9:30 last night the wind picked up & changed direction, the slight glow visible on the hill about 4km to the South quickly changed to a visible flame front of over 500m.

https://www.inverelltimes.com.au/story/ ... t/?cs=1523

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