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NT bushfire warning: Ominous weather conditions stretching across Territory

Xavier La Canna, Thursday September 7, 2017 - 15:05 EST
ABC licensed image
On Tuesday wildfires tore through Marrakai, south-east of Darwin. - ABC licensed

People in parts of the Northern Territory should prepare for bushfires, with severe weather conditions reaching all the way from the border with Western Australia to Queensland, weather authorities say.

"It is a really big day for this season," Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster Gabriel Branescu said.

"Today and tomorrow, so be careful of the fires."

issued this morning showed severe or extreme conditions across most of the Top End.

High pressure system continuing to develop

Mr Branescu said the conditions were a result of a high pressure system in the Great Australian Bight, which was still developing and strengthening.

"It is basically bringing all that dry air from the Bight all the way across the Territory up to the Top End," Mr Branescu told ABC Radio Darwin.

"The high is slow moving, so there is nothing to replace that dry air."

There has been unseasonably dry, windy conditions in parts of the Top End, with forecast temperatures in the high 30s for the next week.

Fire that destroyed home contained, being monitored

Joshua Fisher, a deputy incident controller with Bushfires NT, said crews had been monitoring a major fire that destroyed a home on Tuesday and damaged several others. The blaze has since been contained.

"Crews are working on hotspots, blacking them out to ensure that no fire escapes there today," Mr Fisher said.

Smaller fires have sprung up elsewhere in the NT, including at Gregory National Park and in the Tanami Desert, but none are currently considered a threat to homes, Mr Fisher said.

He said anyone wanting to visit a national park on the weekend should monitor the Parks and Wildlife website for updates.

"Over to the east there is still an active fire that is burning in the Barkly there on Sudan Station," Mr Fisher said.

"It has been burning for the last two or three weeks there."

He said the above-average wet season had contributed to the fire risk, as it meant increased fuel loads in bushland, and hampered landowners' access to areas they could have installed fire breaks.


© ABC 2017

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