The outlook for bushfires in Australia for the 2022-2023 Summer

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The following is a media release from the Australian and New Zealand National Council for fire and emergency services setting out their estimate of how this coming summer’s fire season will play out. As it is so important to the insurance industry and business and personal lines insureds, I share it with you in case you have not seen this important research.

AFAC, the National Council for fire and emergency services, has released the Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for Summer 2022.

The Outlook shows that while many parts of Australia saw above average rainfall and significant flooding this year, the saturated ground in many of these regions supports enhanced vegetation and fuel load growth. This, coupled with expected warmer and drier conditions later in the season, is generating varied fire potential for summer 2022.

Over the course of the summer, vegetation will naturally dry out with the normal seasonal cycle, and fire potential may rise quickly with any extended period of hot, dry and windy weather. This means that it is possible for regions of below normal bushfire potential at the start of summer to transition to normal, or even above normal, bushfire potential later in the season.

Above normal fire potential is expected in central western and southern WA, central Australia, southern Queensland and inland NSW due to increased fuel loads as a result of significant rainfall. Western Tasmania also shows above normal fire potential following a dry spring period.

Areas across Victoria, NSW and the ACT show below normal fire potential due to increased fuel moisture, the continued wet outlook and reduced fuel loads following the 2019-20 bushfire season.

While most of Australia shows normal fire potential during the summer outlook period, anyone living and working in these areas needs to be vigilant. Destructive and deadly fires can still occur during normal bushfire seasons across Australia.

To view the Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for the 2022-2023 Summer please click here.

This Seasonal Outlook was developed by AFAC, the Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, the NSW Rural Fire Service, ACT Emergency Services Agency, ACT Parks and Conservation Service, Country Fire Authority, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Victoria, Tasmania Fire Service, SA Country Fire Service, Department of Fire and Emergency Services and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions WA, and Bushfires NT.

While the outlook for much of Australia is normal or lower than normal, the reality is the long period of wet weather has generated a great deal of vegetation growth which, while it may not be an issue in this coming summer, I fear it will be a real problem in a year or two.

The last point I would make is that every time a bushfire occurs or a cyclone is on the horizon, individuals suddenly realise the need for insurance. They then try and purchase coverage, but the insurance industry does not allow this selection against them. Typically there is what is known as a mortarium, which in simplest terms is a temporary prohibition of writing new business. These are issued when cyclones, bushfires and other such events are highly likely to occur.

This is why it is important to purchase insurance early. As always, the LMI Claims team will be ready to assist with any claims during the summer holiday period.

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