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El Nino likely to drive the bushfire risk

HEATING UP: CFA firefighters take a short break and watch a spot fire near Benloch, Victoria, this week.
HEATING UP: CFA firefighters take a short break and watch a spot fire near Benloch, Victoria, this week. TRACEY Nearmyaap

THE potential for a bad El Nino summer this year with higher risks of bushfires is growing, a climate expert has said.

But Kevin Walsh from the University of Melbourne's School of Earth Sciences warned predictions were not 100% accurate and could vary.

He said the Bureau of Meteorology has recently increased its predictions of a bad El Nino summer.

Professor Walsh said Queensland and New South Wales were both looking at below-average rainfalls and higher-than average temperatures from now to December.

"The accuracy is not 100%, but certainly based on what we've got so far, there's a potential bad outcome," he said.

"If we get that circumstance (a strong El Nino) ... there's increased risks for bushfires."

Prof Walsh said the current El Nino could not be linked directly to climate change, but he expected extreme weather patterns to become "more pronounced".

Topics:  bushfire el nino summer weather


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