The community has recognized a vulnerability to fires and post-fire floods. Bushfires can have severe consequences for many components of forest ecosystems, from the destruction of vegetation to the changing of soil structure and properties. Soil after fire becomes hydrophobic and flooding may occur because of a drought break or localized thunderstorms.
The start of 2003 saw large areas of southeastern Australia ravaged by fire. The fires were preceded by several years of below average rainfall and began with lightning strikes associated with thunderstorm activity. The fires burnt over a period of nearly 60 days and were immediately followed by storms and localized flash flooding. An analysis of the meteorological conditions leading to this extreme rainfall in Alpine Shire, Victoria was performed using the PSU/NCAR (Pennsylvania State University/National Center for Atmospheric Research) mesoscale model, MM5. It is intended that the mechanisms elucidated in this study will assist in emergency preparedness in the Alpine Shire.