List of Australian bushfire seasons

NASA MODIS burned area detections from June 2001 to May 2019 showing regions affected by fires in Australia in red

This is a list of specific seasons of bushfires in Australia including some significant bushfire events from each season. Events are listed if they cause fatalities, destroy houses, or burn more than 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres) of land. Across Australia, seasonality of bushfires varies significantly; however, is generally aligned with the weather patterns in the south of the continent so that each season begins in June (the beginning of the Australian winter) and runs through the following May (the end of the Australian autumn). The worst season recorded is 1974-75, when 117 million hectares (290 million acres) burned, equivalent to 15 percent of Australia's physical land mass that equates to the entire area of France, Spain, and Portugal combined.

1800sEdit

  • Red Tuesday: 12 fatalities, 2000 buildings were destroyed, and 260,000 hectares (640,000 acres) were burnt in Victoria (DSE 2003b).[1]
  • Black Thursday bushfires: 12 fatalities, one million sheep and thousands of cattle were killed, and the fire burnt the second largest area (approximately 5,000,000 hectares (12,000,000 acres)) in history (CFA 2003a; DSE 2003b).[citation needed]

1920sEdit

1930sEdit

1940sEdit

1960sEdit

 
Buildings burning in Hobart during the 1967 'Black Tuesday' bushfires.
  • The 1967 Tasmanian fires: 110 separate fire fronts burnt through 264,000 hectares (650,000 acres) of land in southern Tasmania. The destruction included 1,293 homes, around 62,000 farm animals, over 1,700 other buildings, 80 bridges, 4,800 sections of power lines, 1,500 motor vehicles and over 100 other structures.
  • 1961 Western Australian bushfires The towns of Dwellingup[2] and Karridale were basically destroyed, along with many small settlements that were not rebuilt. The Dwellingup fire migrated to the town of Pinjarra where it burned a significant number of buildings. From January to March of that year, about 1,800,000 hectares (4,400,000 acres) was burnt throughout the south-west, with a large loss of livestock.

1970sEdit

  • 1974-75 Australian bushfire season: approximately 117 million hectares (290 million acres)[a] burned.[3][5][6] The area burnt, 117 million hectares (290 million acres), is equivalent to 15 percent of Australia's physical land mass that equates to the entire area of France, Spain, and Portugal combined.[4]

1980sEdit

  • 1984-85 Australian bushfire season: NSW in 1984-85, 3,500,000 hectares (8,600,000 acres) were burnt, four lives were lost, 40,000 livestock were killed and $40m damage to property was caused (RFS 2003a).
  • 1982-1983 Australian bushfire season: The Ash Wednesday fires of 16 February 1983 caused severe damage in Victoria and South Australia. In Victoria, 210,000 hectares (520,000 acres) were burnt, 2,080 houses destroyed, more than 27,000 stock lost and 47 people lost their lives (CFA 2003a; DSE 2003b, 2003d). Property-related damage was estimated at over $200m and more than 16,000 fire fighters, 1,000 police and 500 defence personnel fought the fires in Victoria. In South Australia, 208,000 hectares (510,000 acres) were burnt, 383 houses were destroyed, 28 people were killed and property-related damage was estimated to be more than $200m (DSE 2003d).[1]

1990sEdit

  • 4 fatalities and 10 houses lost on 20 November at Menai in New South Wales[8][9]
  • 23 houses lost from September to November in southeast Queensland.[12]
  • 2 fatalities and 14 houses lost on 16 October in western Sydney and the Central Coast in New South Wales[8]
  • 1 fatality and 3 houses lost at Mount Tamborine in Queensland[10]
  • 3 fatalities in Queensland[10]
  • 8 houses lost on 23 December across New South Wales[8]
  • 1 fatality and 17 houses lost on 27 December at Strathbogie[13]

2000sEdit

  • Black Christmas bushfires: 109 houses lost and 733,342 hectares (1,812,130 acres) burned from 24 December to 16 January at numerous locations in New South Wales.[8]
  • 1 house lost in March at Glenaroua in Victoria[13]
  • 11 houses lost from 1–9 February at Tulka in South Australia.[21]

2010sEdit

  • The most destructive bushfire season in terms of human life and property loss since the 2008–09 Australian bushfire season. Insurance losses of around A$353 million[26]
  • At least 317,000 hectares (780,000 acres) burned
  • Loss of 408 houses and at least 500 non-residential buildings
  • 8 deaths as a direct result of fire: 6 people died in Western Australia, 2 in South Australia. In New South Wales a volunteer firefighter died due to unrelated health complications while on duty.[27]
  • 2015 Esperance bushfires: 4 fatalities; 19 buildings destroyed
  • 2015 Pinery bushfire: 2 fatalities; 470+ buildings destroyed
  • 2016 Tasmanian bushfires: catastrophic impact on Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area lands
 
NASA image showing the Snowy River bushfire in Eastern Victoria at night in February 2014. The bushfire which lasted for 70 days grew to 165 800 ha and was roughly the same size as Melbourne. Also visible are the fires at the Hazelwood coalmine and Kilmore. Source: NASA Earth Observatory.

2020sEdit

 
NASA satellite imagery on 7 December 2019 showing bushfires across the east coast of Australia.
  • At least 2,680 homes lost[59]
  • 33 deaths (including four firefighters and three US firefighters operating a Lockheed Martin C-130 Large Air Tanker that crashed in the Snowy Monaro Region of southern NSW)[60][61][62][63]
  • At least 1.25 billion wild animals killed[64]
  • At least 18.626 million hectares (46.03 million acres) burned[65]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The 1974-75 bushfire season burnt over 100 million hectares (250 million acres), but there are different figures reported:
    • In 1995, the Australian Bureau Statistcs reported 117 million hectares (290 million acres)[3]
    • The 2004 National Inquiry on Bushfire Mitigation and Management reports a total of 102 million hectares (250 million acres)[4]
    The extent of the 1974-75 bushfire season was not known until after the event when satellite images were analysed, due to the fires being mostly located in very remote areas of the continent.[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2004 - Bushfires". Australian Bureau of Statistics.
  2. ^ "The Dwellingup Fire – Bushfire Front". Bushfire Front. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  3. ^ a b Cheney, N. P. (1 January 1995). "BUSHFIRES – AN INTEGRAL PART OF AUSTRALIA'S ENVIRONMENT". 1301.0 – Year Book Australia, 1995. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 14 January 2020. In 1974-75, lush growth of grasses and forbs following exceptionally heavy rainfall in the previous two years provided continuous fuels through much of central Australia and in this season fires burnt over 117 million hectares or 15 per cent of the total land area of this continent.
  4. ^ a b Ellis, Stuart; Kanowski, Peter; Whelan, R. J. (31 March 2004). "National Inquiry on Bushfire Mitigation and Management, Council of Australian Governments". Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 14 January 2020 – via University of Wollongong.
  5. ^ a b Chang, Charis (8 January 2020). "How the 2019 Australian bushfire season compares to other fire disasters". news.com.au. Retrieved 14 January 2020. The 1974/75 fires had almost no impact and much of the damage was found by satellite after the fact.
  6. ^ "New South Wales, December 1974 Bushfire - New South Wales". Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience. Government of Australia. Archived from the original on 13 January 2020. Retrieved 13 January 2020. During the summer between 1974 and 1975, Australia experienced its worst bushfire season in 30 years. Approximately 15 per cent of Australia's physical land mass sustained extensive fire damage. This equates to roughly around 117 million ha.
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  48. ^ a b "75yo charged over Aberfeldy bushfire". ABC News. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
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  64. ^ https://www.wwf.org.au/get-involved/bushfire-emergency#gs.rjf27t
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External linksEdit