ABC host's concerned reaction to guest's 'catastrophic' warning: 'Very early'

As Queensland is on alert for catastrophic fires today, a meteorologist explains why the weather we're seeing is perfect for fires to start.

The ABC's weather presenter has been gobsmacked by how "early" Australia has received a "catastrophic" bushfire warning, just a few days after the end of winter.

On Monday morning, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services warned residents to exercise caution as catastrophic fire danger was forecast in the Darling Downs and Granite Belt, while an extreme fire danger alert was issued for Channel Country, Maranoa and Warrego.

A photo of an emergency helicopter pouring water on trees in Queensland. An ABC weather presenter Nate Byrne warning the weather we are seeing is already creating a catastrophic fire danger for parts of Queensland.
ABC weather presenter Nate Byrne has warned the weather we are seeing is already creating a catastrophic fire danger for parts of Queensland. Source: ABC

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services chief superintendent Tony Johnstone said the catastrophic rating meant fires could be “uncontrollable”.

“Resources (emergency personnel) may actually have to stand back and let things burn until it actually gets to a safe place,“ Mr Johnstone told the ABC.

Shocked by the timing of the fire warning, ABC weather presenter Nate Byrne said this could be the start to "a dangerous fire season".

"Very early to be starting catastrophic fire danger in the southeast of Queensland," a solemn Bryne said as he turned to Michael Rowland and Lisa Millar on ABC this morning. "Even if we don’t reach El Niño it’s still going to be very warm and very dry, [which is] well above average."

Perfect weather for fires, bureau says

The weather we're seeing right now is due to "air colliding," Weatherzone Meteorologist Maryam Al-Ansari told Yahoo News Australia.

"When the two air masses are colliding — the dry on the west and the wetter one on the east — it's bringing all these thunderstorms," she said.

"And with the dryer winter we've had, the grass has been dry. So when you've got thunderstorms coming and dry fuel ready, it's just that perfect weather for a fire to catch accidentally."

As a result, there are three active fires in Queensland, near the Gold Coast area and near Townsville, which are being taken care of by emergency services.

"We'll probably get them again around Thursday... its really hard to predict fire activity in advance, but that's something to keep an eye out on," Ms Al-Ansari said.

Warmer sea temperature is seeing 'longer fire seasons'

The "record high warm sea surface temperatures," are also affecting the weather we'll be seeing in the coming months, according to Bureau of Meteorology senior hydrologist, Dr Masoud Edraki.

“We know that a warmer climate does increase the risk of extreme weather including heatwaves and drought,” he said in a statement.

“We are already seeing longer fire seasons, and an increase in the number of dangerous fire weather days over most of Australia.”

With the warm weather already ramping because "everything in the north is heating due to Spring," Ms Al-Ansari said Aussies should already start preparing for fires.

with NCA Newswire

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