Perth weather: Total fire ban set for Christmas Day as metro area braces for extreme heatwave

Peter DevlinThe West Australian
Those hoping to fire up the barbie for Christmas lunch may be risking a fine.
Camera IconThose hoping to fire up the barbie for Christmas lunch may be risking a fine. Credit: Supplied /Adobe

Much of WA, including Perth is bracing for an extreme heatwave set to hit from Friday and last at least five days.

The mercury will peak at 39C on Friday, and won’t drop below 38C until at least next Tuesday, including a scorching 42C Christmas Day.

“There are a few nights where the minimum overnight temperature will be as high at 27C,” Duty Forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology Perth Bob Tarr said.

“It doesn’t give the body or surfaces time to cool down, so it’s classified as an extreme heatwave.”

Consecutive days of heatwave conditions mean a total fire ban will almost certainly be in place for Perth on December 25, according to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services WA.

This means outdoor activities, including barbecuing and mowing the lawn will be limited.

“A lot of people would be concerned. The fire danger will be elevated… it will have an impact on outdoor activities, especially any activities that can start a fire,” Mr Tarr said.

Those hoping to fire up the barbie for Christmas lunch may be risking a fine.

During a total fire ban infringements apply for using a barbecue, pizza oven or spit-style rotisserie which burns solid fuel in open air. This includes wood fire ovens or stoves, and kettle barbecues.

Undercover areas such as patios, pergolas and huts which are open or partially open to the weather are deemed to be in the open air.

What you CAN’T do during a total fire ban:

  • Use a barbecue, pizza oven or spit-style rotisserie which burns solid fuel
  • Use a lawnmower that requires fuel
  • Have a campfire, bonfire or light a fire for warmth
  • Light a fire in your backyard
  • Use an angle grinder, welder, charring, soldering or gas cutting tool
  • Drive a vehicle where the vehicle will be in contact with vegetation

What you CAN do during a total fire ban:

  • Use a gas or electrical barbecue
  • Use electrical or battery operated tools, including a lawnmower
  • Barbecue in park (if it is electrical or gas)

For a full list of what you can and can’t do during a total fire ban, including exemptions, visit the DFES website.

Those caught breaching a fire ban could face an infringement of $1000 by police, local government or the DFES, and upon conviction, could receive a fine of $25000 and/ or be jailed for 12 months.

Total fire bans are announced the day prior, depending on weather conditions and updated on the Emergency WA website.

The last total fire ban in the metro area was on Tuesday December 7, when it reached 34C, followed by 38.8C on Wednesday.

Breaches can reported by the public to the Total Fire Ban Hotline on 1800 709 355.

It won’t just be Perth feeling the heat on Christmas Day, with WA expected to have the “hottest temperature in the world” on December 25. Marble Bar is bracing for a dangerous 45C, and Geraldton and Bunbury are both set to reach 44C.

“Nowhere else in the country is experiencing a heatwave over Christmas, in fact there is a good chance somewhere in WA will be hottest place on earth this Christmas Day… its’ just a matter of where,” Mr Tarr said.

PERTH FORECAST

WED: 18-32C

THURS: 21-35C

FRI: 23-39C

SAT: 24-42C

SUN: 27-40C

MON: 25-39C

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