It is reported in the media that currently in Australia there are dozens of wildfires caused by lightning strikes. I am familiar with the mechanism of ordinary British lightning involving cumulonimbus and moisture, but I don't understand the Australian mechanism where hot,bone dry conditions cause lightning strikes on a massive scale, apparently from cloudless or near cloudless skies. The role of high temperatures and near cloudless skies obviously makes vegetation highly inflammable, but solar radiation hot enough to heat it to ignition temperature would kill everyone in Australia, so contrary to what some people appear to believe it can't be that. Perhaps someone can offer an explanation.
TL;DR After having just heard from two experts who actually work in this field(firestorms and dry lightning) in Australia I believe the lightning seen is what is known as "dry lightning" comes from isolated thunderstorms and sometimes storms associated with minor troughs and fronts that come through Australia and also originating from a pyrocumulonimbus cloud. So @David Hammen and @jamesql are correct in their observations that the large scale dry lightning is indeed originating from isolated thunderstorms as well as storms associated with minor troughs and fronts. This dry lightning the experts confirm is associated with little rain.
In addition there have also been several dry lightning strikes from pyrocumulonimbus clouds. As an example for today over 20 dry lightning strikes have been recorded originating from pyrocumulonimbus clouds.
The major driver for the current drought like conditions over Australia is the large anomalous positive Indian Ocean Dipole (positive IOD) that has persisted well into boreal autumn/astral spring.
What the experts mention is that while the dry hot conditions are sporadic (2-4 days) they are persisting over over many weeks.
The following articles written by two researchers Firestorms and flaming tornadoes: how bushfires create their own ferocious weather systems and Firestorms: the bushfire/thunderstorm hybrids we urgently need to understand provide information on the dynamics behind firestorms and the formation of pyrocumulus clouds and the associated dry lightning.
Following is a summary of those articles and the conditions that lead to dry lightning from pyrocumulonimbus clouds.
Not all bushfires lead to firestorms. If a bushfire has sufficient area the upward movement of air causes the fire to interact with the atmosphere above it and form what is known as a pyrocloud. If in addition there is an atmospheric instability then this process leads to the formation of a pyrocumulonimbus cloud . Normally in meteorology we are taught of heat radiating from the ground but in this case the upward movement of air is due to the heat emanating from the fire.
Again from mesoscale meteorology one hears the word "downdrafts". Similarly in this context the appropriate word is "downbursts" and these are vertical drafts of air that hit the ground and move about in all directions. The unsettled conditions cause embers to carry over large distances.
These firestorms produce dry lightning that potentially can spark new fires that may end up creating a larger flaming zone.