Western Australia's heatwave leads to bush fire concerns

30 Jan, 2012 07:31 AM
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PARTS of Western Australia have been enduring an extended heatwave and now dry winds are picking up speed, raising the bush fire threat.

Perth's extended heatwave was finally broken on Sunday, when the maximum temperature topped out at just 33 degrees. This followed a five day heatwave, where maximum temperatures climbed above 35 degrees from Tuesday of last week to Saturday. An official heatwave in Perth is classified as three or more consecutive days with daily maximum temperatures climbing above 35 degrees.

Though the temperatures have dipped slightly in Perth recently, drier easterly winds have begun to pick up speed over the state's west coast. The strengthening winds are the result of Tropical Cyclone Iggy to the north, which is interacting with a large high pressure system to the south. The strong pressure differences between these weather systems is leading to a strong easterly flow over the west coast.

The drier nature of these winds is now combining with the still very warm temperatures to create heightened fire dangers. In the Central West district, where daytime temperatures are still soaring up to 40 degrees, a fire weather warning has been issued.

A bushfire near Wannamal, north of Perth, was still burning out of control this morning, despite the slight cooling of temperatures. The dry easterly winds will remain fresh and gusty today, before taking an easing trend from Tuesday.

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