The 2019/20 Australian bushfires burned over 46 million acres of land, killed 34 people and left 3500 individuals homeless. Majority of deaths and buildings destroyed were in New South Wales, while the Northern Territory accounted for approximately 1/3 of the burned area. Many of the buildings that were lost were farm buildings, adding to the challenge of agricultural recovery that is already complex because of ash-covered farmland accompanied by historic levels of drought. The current therefore aimed at characterising veldfire risk in the study area using Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI). A 39 year-long time series data was obtained from an online NASA database. Both homogeneity and stationarity tests were deployed using a non-parametric Pettitt’s and Dicky-Fuller tests respectively for data quality checks. Major results revealed a non-significant two-tailed Mann Kendall trend test with a p-value=0.789 > 0.05 significance level. A suitable probability distribution was fitted to the annual KBDI time series where both Kolmogorov-Smirnov and Chi-square tests revealed Gamma (1) as a suitably fitted probability distribution. Return level computation from the Gamma (1) distribution using XLSTAT computer software, resulted in a cumulative 40-year return period of moderate to high fire risk potential. With this low probability and 40-year long return level, the study found the area less prone to fire risks detrimental to animal and crop production. More agribusiness investments can safely be executed in the Northern Territory without high risk aversion.
- 82 Reads