International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Characteristics of lightning-attributed wildland fires in south-east Australia

Andrew J. Dowdy A B C and Graham A. Mills A B

A Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, 700 Collins Street, Docklands, Vic. 3008, Australia.

B Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre, 340 Albert Street, East Melbourne, Vic. 3002, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: a.dowdy@bom.gov.au

International Journal of Wildland Fire 21(5) 521-524 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF10145
Submitted: 14 December 2010  Accepted: 8 November 2011   Published: 30 April 2012

Abstract

Wildland fires attributed to lightning ignitions in Victoria, Australia, are examined systematically through the use of lightning occurrence data. Lightning stroke data were obtained by a network of ground-based lightning detection sensors over a 9-year period. Characteristics of these fires are examined including the temporal variability in the average chance of fire occurrence per lightning stroke and the time period from lightning ignition of a fire until the fire grows large enough to be first observed, as well as distributions of fire duration and total area burnt. It is found that the time of day that lightning occurs does not have a significant influence on the chance of fire per lightning stroke, in contrast to the time of year, for which a significant annual variation occurs. Regional variability is examined by discussing the results for Victoria, Australia, in relation to results of studies from other parts of the world.


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