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How heatwaves and drought combine to produce the perfect firestorm

By Jyoteeshkumar Reddy Papari, PhD Candidate, UNSW
Jason Sharples, Professor of Bushfire Dynamics, School of Science, UNSW Canberra, UNSW
Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, ARC Future Fellow, UNSW
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Long heatwaves during entrenched drought often trigger fears of bushfire. It’s easy to imagine rolling days of hot, dry weather desiccating leaves, bark and twigs, transforming them into a potent fuel.

Victoria’s heatwave in 2009, which reached a record temperature of 46.4℃, came during severe, enduring drought and culminated in the Black Saturday bushfire tragedy.

Likewise, the unprecedented Black Summer bushfires…

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