Fund Raising For Australia Bush Fire
In association with Australia Red Cross.
The massive bushfires sweeping across the country have shocked Australians in their size and ferociousness.
Since the start of the 2019 fire season, a staggering 10 million hectares has been burned, with all states and territories impacted except the ACT.
To put this into perspective, in NSW alone, almost 5 million hectares have been burned, which covers an area larger than the Netherlands.
In total, the area burned is almost the size of England, which is 13 million hectares.
Australia’s mega fires have also left others in the shade. The Amazon fires, which left the world reeling in August last year, saw about 900,000 hectares burned.
The California fires in 2018 claimed about 800,000 hectares.
Emeritus Professor Stephen J Pyne of Arizona State University is an expert on the history of fire as well as a former firefighter in the US, and has written a book about Australia called Burning Bush: A Fire History of Australia.
He said most of the great historical bushfires in Australia had been named after the days they happened, such as Black Saturday. Each of them were memorable due to a number of factors including how destructive they were and how many people died.
The 2009 Black Saturday fires claimed the most lives, with 173 people. But the most destructive event, which happened in 1974 and burned 117 million hectares, does not have a name because most of the land was in central Australia and so it did not impact many communities.
“The 1974/75 fires had almost no impact and much of the damage was found by satellite after the fact,” Prof Pyne told news.com.au.