Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2023-210
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2023-210
29 Jan 2024
 | 29 Jan 2024
Status: this discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS). The manuscript was not accepted for further review after discussion.

Meteorological Analysis of the Forcett-Dunalley Wildfire in 2013 in Tasmania, Australia

Ivana Čavlina Tomašević, Paul Fox-Hughes, Kevin Cheung, Višnjica Vučetić, Jon Marsden-Smedley, Paul Beggs, and Maja Telišman Prtenjak

Abstract. A major bushfire occurred during January 2013 near the towns Forcett and Dunalley in southeast Tasmania, Australia. Several records were broken by this wildfire, in terms of impacts to eco-systems, infrastructure and lives, as well as the first documented fire storm development in Tasmania in the form of pyrocumulonimbus. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology high-resolution regional reanalysis for Tasmania (BARRA-TA), with 1.5-km spatial resolution, together with in-situ observations, was applied to reconstruct the wildfire event. The antecedent climatic conditions in Tasmania included large increase in fuel load due to abundant rain one to two years before the event, followed by a heatwave during the summer of 2012/13. In the three periods we identified during the event reconstruction, the second period was the most dramatic, in which a low-level jet was directed downslope in southeast Tasmania to accelerate the fire spread. Moreover, spotting of over 3 km was observed, and pyrocumulonimbus developed in this period with lightning up to 13 km from the fire. A cold front crossed the fireground during the third period, and thus played a different role compared with some past extreme fire events in terms of lifting and wind direction change. Our analyses conclude that climatic conditions, synoptic patterns and mesoscale convective environment all contributed to this wildfire event.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Ivana Čavlina Tomašević, Paul Fox-Hughes, Kevin Cheung, Višnjica Vučetić, Jon Marsden-Smedley, Paul Beggs, and Maja Telišman Prtenjak

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2023-210', Anonymous Referee #1, 04 Mar 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', kevin cheung, 22 Apr 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2023-210', Anonymous Referee #2, 09 Mar 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', kevin cheung, 22 Apr 2024
  • RC3: 'Comment on nhess-2023-210', Anonymous Referee #3, 09 Mar 2024
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', kevin cheung, 22 Apr 2024

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2023-210', Anonymous Referee #1, 04 Mar 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', kevin cheung, 22 Apr 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2023-210', Anonymous Referee #2, 09 Mar 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', kevin cheung, 22 Apr 2024
  • RC3: 'Comment on nhess-2023-210', Anonymous Referee #3, 09 Mar 2024
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', kevin cheung, 22 Apr 2024
Ivana Čavlina Tomašević, Paul Fox-Hughes, Kevin Cheung, Višnjica Vučetić, Jon Marsden-Smedley, Paul Beggs, and Maja Telišman Prtenjak
Ivana Čavlina Tomašević, Paul Fox-Hughes, Kevin Cheung, Višnjica Vučetić, Jon Marsden-Smedley, Paul Beggs, and Maja Telišman Prtenjak

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Short summary
We have analyzed a severe wildfire event in Tasmania, Australia that also developed thunderstorm clouds. The drivers of this compound hazard were highly complex, which included climatic factors (above normal heavy rain seasons followed by heatwave), weather systems (fronts and high winds) to heighten fire severity and unstable atmosphere to develop thunderstorm clouds, all in coincidence. Such event has demonstrated the difficulty to assess wildfire risk in a warming climate.
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