Bushfires in Australia

There are some very bad bushfires in Australia.

Along with other natural disasters like tropical cyclones, droughts and floods, Australia also suffers from bushfires.

Here are some bushfire pictures, and some information about some of the bigger bushfires that we remember.

Bushfire Burning, Australia
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Why Do Bush Fires Get so Big in Australia?
Bushfires are natural in Australia. In southern parts of the country, particularly in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales they happen every year, and they are part of ecosystems in those parts of the country, where many plant species, including eucalypts, rely on fire to be able to germinate. With bad combinations of conditions though, like heat waves which happen in Australia every year; droughts and strong winds, every now and again those fires get massive and destroy a lot of properties and kill people. Fires get also big in Australia because 70% of Australian forests consist of Eucalypt trees, and eucalypt leaves contain highly flammable oils, which feed the fires as the oils in the leaves explode.

Results of Bush Fire, Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia
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Bad Bushfires in
Australia - Ash Wednesday Bushfires
This was the deadliest Australian bushfire of the last century, and the deadliest bushfire in Australian history until 2009. Extreme heat, winds up to 110km/h and severe drought caused by El Niño that year, created perfect conditions for more than 180 fires that were raging in Victoria and South Australia on 16 February 1983, killing 75 people, destroying 3,700 buildings and leaving 2,500 people homeless. Many deaths were caused by sudden changes in wind directions.

Burnt Gum Trees and New Growth after Severe Bush Fires in Royal National Park, New South Wales
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Bush Fires - 2003 Canberra Bushfires
This was one of the least deadly bushfires, however large areas were burnt and lots of wildlife killed. 70% of Australian Capital Territory was burned down, including national parks, on 18 January 2003 by 160 fires lighted by lightening strikes. The fires started to come into suburbs of Canberra, 500 homes were destroyed and four people were killed. The main factor was the winds that were so strong it was said they could uproot trees.

Firefighter Shares His Water an Injured Australian Koala after Wildfires Swept Through the Region
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Bad Bushfires in Australia - 2009 Victorian Bushfires
Black Saturday Bushfires in Victoria on the 7th of February 2009 were the worst ever in Australian history. 173 people were killed, 500 injured, 2,000 homes destroyed, and towns like Kinglake, Marysville and Flowerdale almost wiped out in as many as 400 different fires.

 Black Saturday - February 2009


The Premier of Victoria John Brumby had warned people on the previous day, saying people should exercise real common sense as "this was expected to be the worst day of fire conditions in the history of the state of Victoria". People were prepared for a bushfire, but not for a fire storm, a fire wall as high as a four-storey building that moved in 50km/h and destroyed everything that was in its way. It was because of a bad combination of dry weather conditions, extreme heat (46°C), and winds exceeding 110km/h.

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