Wildfires to Destroy Four Percent of Australia’s Grain Output
Wildfires in Western Australia, the country’s top crop producing state, could destroy four percent of the country’s grain output. Within the past week, three large wildfires have burned 300,000 hectares across Western Australia’s southwest region, killing four people, according to police reports, and forecasters are predicting that the arid and dry conditions that caused the fires are expected to extend eastward.
At this point of the yearly crop cycle, Western Australia’s production is mainly focused on wheat. As the fourth top wheat exporter in the world, this damage to the country’s output will support wheat futures which fell to their lowest in two months this past week.
In 2015/16 slightly over 8 million hectares has been dedicated to grain production in Western Australia, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), but because the fires are still burning, the industry does not yet know what the full extent of the damage will be.
As of November 19 the heatwave has been seen extending toward Southern Australia, and forecasters caution that much of that state is in a condition of ‘severe fire danger’ considering the combination of high temperatures, extremely low humidity, and hard winds.