Australia's drought and bushfires, a personal view

  • Thread starter davenn
  • Start date
In summary, the conversation discusses the severe drought conditions in Australia, particularly west of the Great Dividing Range, and the struggles of farmers, businesses, and communities in these areas. The conversation also touches on the impact of climate change and the need for solutions such as desalination plants. There is also mention of the current bushfire season and its devastating effects. The conversation ends with a discussion on potential solutions and the need for proactive action before reaching a crisis point.
  • #1
davenn
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2023 Award
9,598
10,311
I have lived in Australia now for 20 years and the last 3 years in particular have been some of the worse
drought conditions ever experienced. The farmers that are west of the Great Dividing Range, that runs roughly north-south, along the eastern side of the of the country are really doing it tough. Many of
them have lost everything, crops and animals as there is no water to irrigate or to grow fodder for
livestock. Some areas have not seen significant rain in 5 or more years.

As you can imagine, the country towns and cities likewise are struggling, as their primary role is to
provide support for the farming sector, machinery, feed, and all the other agricultural needs. These
businesses are going broke and closing down.
Along the eastern coastal strip, tho it still has green foliage is only doing a little better. There hasn't
been significant rain for many months and the water catchments and reservoirs are drying up. Sydney,
where I live has been on level 1 water restrictions for several months and it's about to increase to level 2 restrictions. Sydney's main water source, the Warragamba reservoir is now at around 45-47%
capacity and is dropping as time passes.
In the last 2 months, I have seen more dust storms pass through the Sydney basin, than I have
experienced in the last 19 years. Those farmers on the earlier mentioned west side of the mountains
are slowly loosing more and more of their precious top soil.

Added to all of above, it has been the worst bushfire season on record for those of us on the eastern
(coastal) side of the mountains, with many large and out of control fires surrounding Sydney and
extending north across the New South Wales / Queensland state border and on towards the city of
Brisbane. Since around the beginning of October till today, the sky around my location has been
almost constantly for of smoke and sometimes dust at the same time. The only times we have had
smoke free skies a day here and there, has been when there was a brief change in wind direction.
These fires are truly huge, many started by thunderstorm lightning strikes and sadly a number by
arsonists. Sadly some lives have been lost, many homes and other buildings destroyed. The cost to
the environment and to wildlife is uncountable.

Some photos, satellite and weather radar images

Weather radar even picks up the huge smoke plumes. The blue dot in the centre is my location ..
191205 1800AEST bushfire smoke streams on radar sm.jpg


A screen dump from today's weather satellite (07 Dec 2019) shows fires for 100's of km's
along the New South Wales coast ...
191207 1440AEST bushfire plumes vsm.jpg


Huge pyro-cumulus smoke cloud, looking north to one of the huge fires NW of my workplace, NW of Sydney

20191115_160616 sm.jpg


I put my drone up ~ 55m above home Friday evening, the sky was this horrible yellow-orange colour
visibility range ~ 2km ...
20191206 1737 from home sm.jpg
I would have liked to post actual fire photos but don't want copyright issuesRegards
Dave
 

Attachments

  • 081114(P3351) Bushfire Smoke around Home.jpg
    081114(P3351) Bushfire Smoke around Home.jpg
    46.9 KB · Views: 516
  • Informative
  • Like
  • Sad
Likes Dragrath, lomidrevo, Wrichik Basu and 8 others
Earth sciences news on Phys.org
  • #2
Seems like a climate change kind of thing.
I have read that's hard for people to accept there.
What's the story? How's it being discussed? (in a descriptive, non-partisan way)
 
  • Like
Likes lomidrevo, davenn and WWGD
  • #3
IMO on the long run we will have to (re-)turn to big desalination plants. There will be no other possibility and should be possible in hot areas with a lot of sun. However, the infrastructure must be constructed. The phenomenon you described is - to a smaller degree as always when it comes to Australia - the same here. We never had had serious problems with not enough rain, until the last three years (+2003). Now it became the standard. You can literally _see_ it on such trivial things like the sizes of potatoes in the supermarkets. Same in the US: and they loot their big aquifers now for many decades. Almonds in CA, Vegas in the dessert? Such luxuries will not work for any longer than a couple of years. Personally I'm waiting for the first pipeline from Alaska to the south for water, instead of oil. But this would again be a living on reserves. Israel is pretty far in its technology of desalination. Time to book some tickets to learn!
 
  • Like
Likes Dragrath, sysprog, Asymptotic and 2 others
  • #4
fresh_42 said:
IMO on the long run we will have to (re-)turn to big desalination plants. There will be no other possibility and should be possible in hot areas with a lot of sun. However, the infrastructure must be constructed. The phenomenon you described is - to a smaller degree as always when it comes to Australia - the same here. We never had had serious problems with not enough rain, until the last three years (+2003). Now it became the standard. You can literally _see_ it on such trivial things like the sizes of potatoes in the supermarkets. Same in the US: and they loot their big aquifers now for many decades. Almonds in CA, Vegas in the dessert? Such luxuries will not work for any longer than a couple of years. Personally I'm waiting for the first pipeline from Alaska to the south for water, instead of oil. But this would again be a living on reserves. Israel is pretty far in its technology of desalination. Time to book some tickets to learn!
There are many smaller-scale ideas that may be used too. Showering is extremely innefficient in that it could be accomplished with significantly less water than present avg. For one, turn water off while putting soap on. Not a big deal on an individual basis but water savings would add up over time when some 4 billion+ who have regular access to running water do it. But most if the time you need to reach a crisis for people to want to change.
 
  • Like
Likes Dragrath, davenn and BillTre
  • #5
WWGD said:
But most if the time you need to reach a crisis for people to want to change.
Sadly, but true. However, it's even worse. Not few predict future wars on water. So let's make the calculation: costs of war versus (inevitable) costs on infrastructure for desalination. We are so incredibly stupid and smart at the same time.
 
  • Like
Likes Dragrath, sysprog, davenn and 1 other person
  • #6
According to this chart, you in Australia are more dry than wet. Chart for Southern Australia.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-06/how-does-the-current-drought-compare/10055414

1902 was a year without a lot of moisture, the Federation drought ( late 1890 to 1903 ish ), and apparently affected species viability. Probably fires and bush burning also.

Around year 2000 it seemed quite dry for several consecutive years.
What's different about this year with so many fires?
 
  • Like
Likes davenn
  • #7
fresh_42 said:
Sadly, but true. However, it's even worse. Not few predict future wars on water. So let's make the calculation: costs of war versus (inevitable) costs on infrastructure for desalination. We are so incredibly stupid and smart at the same time.
Someone described the general attitude when people were asked to think of the environment and act accordingly for the sake of the future. People would reply : "What has the future ever done for me?"

Edit: So what are the options for the water problem? Is desalination viable? Reforestation?
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes davenn and BillTre
  • #8
BillTre said:
Seems like a climate change kind of thing.
I have read that's hard for people to accept there.
What's the story? How's it being discussed? (in a descriptive, non-partisan way)

It's not so much a problem of accepting that climate change is happening. It is more of a
"why should we take on the emissions burden and all the extra costs when the percentage
of the emissions that Australia produces is tiny compared to many other countries.
Remember, our population is only around 25 million and we look at countries like China who
don't care about their greenhouse emissions. Yet we are being told by world climate bodies
to tow the line with our emissions policies etc and China, pretty much the biggest air polluter
on the planet isnt. The population here take that pretty hard when they are told that the
electricity they pay for is being carbon emission taxed at upwards of $100 / quarter
( 4 invoices per year) to lower the emissions by maybe a percent or two on what is already a
very low emission rate.

fresh_42 said:
IMO on the long run we will have to (re-)turn to big desalination plants.

With the very dry conditions during the 2000's the state govt NSW ( where I am) after a lot

of ummming and harring finally decided to build a desal plant for supplying Sydney with
additional water. It was built and finished and was in operation for 2010 - 2012.

Wiki ...
The Sydney Desalination Plant is a potable drinking water desalination plant that forms part of the water supply system of Greater Metropolitan Sydney. The plant is located in the Kurnell industrial estate, in Southern Sydney in the Australian state of New South Wales. The plant uses reverse osmosis filtration membranes to remove salt from seawater and is powered using renewable energy, supplied to the national power grid from the Infigen Energy–owned Capital Wind Farm located at Bungendore.

The Sydney Desalination Plant is owned by the Government of New South Wales. In 2012, the NSW Government entered into a 50–year lease with Sydney Desalination Plant Pty Ltd (SDP), a company jointly owned by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board (50%) and two funds managed by Hastings Funds Management Limited: Utilities Trust of Australia and The Infrastructure Fund (together 50%).[4] The terms of the A$2.3 billion lease lock Sydney Water into a 50–year water supply agreement with SDP.[5] The operator of the plant is Veolia Water Australia Pty Ltd.

The Sydney Desalination Plant is the third major desalination plant built in Australia, after Kwinana in Perth which was completed in 2006 and Tugun on the Gold Coast which was completed in 2009.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Desalination_Plant

It sustained significant damage from a tornado strike in 2015 and has been pretty much idle since then
and it is being resurrected to hopefully help with the dwindling natural water supply for Sydney.
 
  • #9
davenn said:
It's not so much a problem of accepting that climate change is happening. It is more of a
"why should we take on the emissions burden and all the extra costs when the percentage
of the emissions that Australia produces is tiny compared to many other countries.
Remember, our population is only around 25 million and we look at countries like China who
don't care about their greenhouse emissions. Yet we are being told by world climate bodies
to tow the line with our emissions policies etc and China, pretty much the biggest air polluter
on the planet isnt. The population here take that pretty hard when they are told that the
electricity they pay for is being carbon emission taxed at upwards of $100 / quarter
( 4 invoices per year) to lower the emissions by maybe a percent or two on what is already a
very low emission rate.
With the very dry conditions during the 2000's the state govt NSW ( where I am) after a lot

of ummming and harring finally decided to build a desal plant for supplying Sydney with
additional water. It was built and finished and was in operation for 2010 - 2012.

Wiki ...https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Desalination_Plant

It sustained significant damage from a tornado strike in 2015 and has been pretty much idle since then
and it is being resurrected to hopefully help with the dwindling natural water supply for Sydney.
Third World countries' argument is that industrialized countries had no restrictions on emissions when they were building themselves up, which facilitated their development, so they should now bear thw brunt of the emission restrictions so 3rd world nations won't have such a heavy burden in their own development. Though your point about Australia is a valid one.
 
  • Like
Likes davenn
  • #10
256bits said:
According to this chart, you in Australia are more dry than wet. Chart for Southern Australia.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-06/how-does-the-current-drought-compare/10055414

That's approx. like a similar area to southern California, Arizona, New Mexico.
Which doesn't include NSW - my state. Tho is does give a rough indication for things in NSW.
And note they are referring to autumn, not a month by month or annual rainfall. In NSW, every month
has been dry.
This time around it is NSW that's really in the firing line for droughts. I'm trying to remember the last
significant rain locally, probably around 2 maybe 3 months ago where it rained for almost 2 days straight.
Guess what ? practically none of it fell in the Warragamba dam catchment area. It all fell within ~ 20 km
of the coast.

256bits said:
What's different about this year with so many fires?

Some thunderstorms with lots of lightning and little rain from them. Extended periods of a complete
lack of rain. Cool weather fronts that come though but don't bring rain, just strong gusty winds that
drive the fires out of control.

WWGD said:
Someone described the general attitude when people were asked to think of the environment and act accordingly for the sake of the future. People would reply : "What has the future ever done for me?"

There maybe a few like that, but I doubt that it is a significant number.

WWGD said:
Edit: So what are the options for the water problem? Is desalination viable? Reforestation?
I spoke about desal in my previous post
Note, for the most part, the areas being burnt out, isn't forestry it's native bush that is tinder dry.
Hazzard reduction burns are regularly carried out when weather conditions permit.
 
  • Like
Likes BillTre and WWGD
  • #11
WWGD said:
Third World countries' argument is that industrialized countries had no restrictions on emissions when they were building themselves up, which facilitated their development, so they should now bear thw brunt of the emission restrictions so 3rd world nations won't have such a heavy burden in their own development.

That is true, but they just go on with massive pollution themselves ... "pot calling the kettle black"
and are not being held accountable
 
  • Like
Likes Dragrath and WWGD
  • #12
davenn said:
That is true, but they just go on with massive pollution themselves ... "pot calling the kettle black"
and are not being held accountable
I consider myself a centrist. I simpathyze with their plight but like to remind them of their own say on the matter. India, for one, has gained 1 billion people ( not a typo, with a b) since independence in 1947. Similar for others. Edit: True, the West is hardly blameless, but the same goes for all groups if one cares to look closely -- which they don't for the most part. Sorry for this OT rant, will get back on topic.
 
  • Like
Likes Dragrath and davenn
  • #13
davenn said:
and we look at countries like China who don't care about their greenhouse emissions.
China, while being the largest nett CO2 emitter on the planet, has only overtaken the US in the last decade or so (but steeply). Furthermore, in terms of per capita emissions, the US remains in the lead. Additionally, China is leading in terms of investment in renewables.
So I don't think it's fair to say they should take all the blame or that they don't care.
 
  • Like
Likes lomidrevo
  • #14
Bandersnatch said:
China, while being the largest nett CO2 emitter on the planet, has only overtaken the US in the last decade or so (but steeply). Furthermore, in terms of per capita emissions, the US remains in the lead. Additionally, China is leading in terms of investment in renewables.
So I don't think it's fair to say they should take all the blame or that they don't care.
China's total emissions are growing steeply, US', rest of dev world's have been essentially stable since 1970.
 
  • Like
Likes davenn
  • #15
WWGD said:
China's total emissions are growing steeply, US', rest of dev world's have been essentially stable since 1970.
Yes, but. Since the rest of the (developed) world has been going at it for a long time already, the total contribution to the increased CO2 concentrations that China has managed to achieve is still at only half of what the US or the EU have pumped into the atmosphere, and merely twice that of Russia.
That China's total emissions (and soon also India's) are so steeply rising is simply due to its large population. Per capita emissions are much lower than e.g. US' or Australia's - which are among the worst offenders.
And (as was mentioned already) they're leading the world in renewable energy investment.
All that is happening here is the rest of the world catching up to the level of per capita emissions more in line with the western economies.
The point I'm trying to make, is that arguments along the lines of 'there's no point reducing >our< emissions, since that dirty China doesn't care', are just attempts at deflecting responsibility.
 
  • Like
Likes lomidrevo
  • #16
Bandersnatch said:
Yes, but. Since the rest of the (developed) world has been going at it for a long time already, the total contribution to the increased CO2 concentrations that China has managed to achieve is still at only half of what the US or the EU have pumped into the atmosphere, and merely twice that of Russia.
That China's total emissions (and soon also India's) are so steeply rising is simply due to its large population. Per capita emissions are much lower than e.g. US' or Australia's - which are among the worst offenders.
And (as was mentioned already) they're leading the world in renewable energy investment.
All that is happening here is the rest of the world catching up to the level of per capita emissions more in line with the western economies.
The point I'm trying to make, is that arguments along the lines of 'there's no point reducing >our< emissions, since that dirty China doesn't care', are just attempts at deflecting responsibility.
I agree that developed countries had a free ride for a while so that they did not bear the costs of polluting they now expect developing countries to bear but the developed world has for the most part assumed respobsibility and taken action.
 
  • #17
WWGD said:
the developed world has for the most part assumed respobsibility and taken action
Has it? As you said, the emissions have remained roughly steady. And the worst offender of the lot backpedalled on the Paris agreement. If it's not exactly business as usual, then it's nearly so.
 
  • #18
Bandersnatch said:
That China's total emissions (and soon also India's) are so steeply rising is simply due to its large population.
Not simply, no. Elimination of poverty is the big factor.

When the poor are lifted up to middle class affluence, they suddenly want houses, cars, roads, cities, power, water, lots of infrastructure and stuff. Things like concrete create lots of emissions. Because of that, their environmental footprint is transiently 11x times their steady state footprint. My source is the Wall Street Journal, but I'm afraid I lost the link.

If we succeed in eliminating poverty elsewhere, we should expect similar surges in environmental demands.
 
  • Like
Likes Dragrath and davenn
  • #19
Closer examination seem to relate the variation of rainfall and lack thereof to the ENSO.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221209471930009X

Moreover, specialists attribute the intensity of the wildfires to the specifics of Eucalyptus, for instance, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6054383/ being rather susceptible to bushfire due to the high oil content and also the accumulation of kindle due to the aboriginals no longer burning it at regular intervals (https://www.jstor.org/stable/3554847?seq=1).

More info:

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/trees/eucalyptus/eucalyptus-fire-hazards.htm
https://www.livescience.com/40583-australia-wildfires-eucalyptus-trees-bushfires.html
https://talltimbers.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/75-Mount1969_op.pdf
 
  • Like
Likes Dragrath and davenn
  • #20
Andre said:
Closer examination seem to relate the variation of rainfall and lack thereof to the ENSO.

Yeah, lack thereof

Andre said:
Moreover, specialists attribute the intensity of the wildfires to the specifics of Eucalyptus, for instance, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6054383/ being rather susceptible to bushfire due to the high oil content and also the accumulation of kindle due to the aboriginals no longer burning it at regular intervals (https://www.jstor.org/stable/3554847?seq=1).

This hasn't changed in the last 200 years other than, it's now the various Govt services that do regular
hazard reduction burns where possible and when suitable. Unfortunately due the long period of drought,
it hasn't always been overly safe to do significant hazard reduction burns.

Add to the mix lightning strikes and idiot arsonists lighting fires and it's a recipe for disaster.
 
  • #21
Bandersnatch said:
That China's total emissions (and soon also India's) are so steeply rising is simply due to its large population.
Not only population, but also negligence and lack of interest in the general public about the environment. Let me narrate some real-life incidents:
  • (Read this in the newspaper) A person planted a large number of trees throughout his life on the two sides of the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass in Kolkata. Don't remember the exact figure, but maybe it was around 40-50 large shelter-giving trees. Now, in order to metal the sides of the road, the Kolkata Municipal Development Authority cut down 90% of those trees.
  • In my neighbourhood, people are seriously allergic to trees. There was a jackfruit tree in a neighbouring house. They cut it down to half its previous size in order to let in more sunlight during the winter months. And guess what - winter stays only for two months; rest of the year, it is scorching 40°C, and those trees are the ones providing relief. Same incident with a neem and a mango tree.
  • Some people can withstand trees, but not their leaves. They would weekly sweep all the leaves and branches together, and burn them down. The smoke is so disgusting that we often suffocate.
I believe a major reason for this is illiteracy. Illiteracy not in the sense of academic qualifications, but they don't have any concern about the environment. The result? If you get outdoors at night, you will suffocate.

China is still trying to control emissions, but India...leave it.
 
  • #22
I suspect some of the fires in Australia were started by careless individuals, or even worse: they were set deliberately...I don't have statistics about Australia but pyromania is on the increase in many mediterranean countries . Don't know what's going on in humans heads
 
  • Like
Likes davenn
  • #23
zoki85 said:
I suspect some of the fires in Australia were started by careless individuals, or even worse: they were set deliberately...I don't have statistics about Australia but pyromania is on the increase in many mediterranean countries . Don't know what's going on in humans heads

Accidental starts, from news reports is very low, major starts from lightning and sadly arsonists

Around a month ago, in Queensland state, more than a dozen arsonists were arrested in a 14 day period :frown: :mad:

went looking for the original article, couldn't find, but there are lots of articles on various individuals arrested
 
  • #24
I've been following some of the news, which is heartbreaking.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/30/australia/australia-mallacoota-beach-fire-intl-hnk-scli/index.html
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-50953591

I read that the Victorian government was recommending evacuating East Gippsland area around Bairnsdale, but it wasn't clear to me how large an area. Mallacoota is about as far east as one can go in East Gippsland, whereas Bairnsdale is near the western border.

Extremely large pyrocumulus clouds tower over bushfires in New South Wales and spread over the Pacific Ocean. Sentinel-2A image, December 31, 2019 (extremely large seems like an understatement)
https://wildfiretoday.com/wp-conten...nFire_1107AEDT_12-31-2019_@andrewmiskelly.jpg
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes davenn
  • #25
Astronuc said:
I read that the Victorian government was recommending evacuating East Gippsland area around Bairnsdale, but it wasn't clear to me how large an area. Mallacoota is about as far east as one can go in East Gippsland, whereas Bairnsdale is near the western border.

Jst to be clear, or those that don't know Australia well, Bairnsdale and Mallacoota are about 200km apart ( crow flies). This just
a smaller eastern region of the state of Victoria ( SE state of Australia). Bairnsdale isn't on/near any border. the state borders
are the fine grey lines/wriggles.

SE Australia1.JPG


Pretty much all of the dark green areas (bushland) from the white rectangle area and right up to Sydney and beyond has burnt out
or is still burning at this time

SE Australia2.JPG

Dave
 
  • #26
Astronuc said:
Extremely large pyrocumulus clouds tower over bushfires in New South Wales and spread over the Pacific Ocean. Sentinel-2A image, December 31, 2019 (extremely large seems like an understatement)

Yes, very large. They (the fires) are are creating their own weather patterns in the regions. Producing thunderstorms with significant lightning.
This adds to the problems of generating more fire outbreaks
 
  • #27
Are there precedents you can use to know what to expect in the aftermath?
 
  • #28
Last night was a warm North Westerly wind in Christchurch NZ, you couldn't see the sunset for the smoke haze which made the whole sky a pinkish/brown. You could even smell the smoke in the air. Best wishes to all you people in Oz.

Cheers
 
  • Like
Likes WWGD and davenn
  • #29
anorlunda said:
Are there precedents you can use to know what to expect in the aftermath?
There have been previous large scale fires. For example, in February 2009, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Saturday_bushfires

However, the current set of fires seems to be the worst yet.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019–20_Australian_bushfire_season
The 2019–20 Australian bushfire season has burned an estimated 6,300,000 hectares (16,000,000 acres; 63,000 km2; 24,000 sq mi), destroyed over 2,500 buildings (including over 1,300 houses) and killed 24 people as of January 4th, 2020, . . . . And it's only the beginning of the fire season.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/worl...c1f534-2dd9-11ea-bffe-020c88b3f120_story.html

There will probably be some government program for relief and recovery.
From the PM's office: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/bushfire-relief-and-recovery

https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/nsw-bushfires-september-2019-australian-government-disaster-recovery-payment
 
Last edited:
  • Sad
Likes davenn and anorlunda
  • #30
Astronuc said:
There have been previous large scale fires. For example, in February 2009, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Saturday_bushfires

they were sizeable, but a relatively confined area
Astronuc said:
However, the current set of fires seems to be the worst yet.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019–20_Australian_bushfire_season
The 2019–20 Australian bushfire season has burned an estimated 6,300,000 hectares (16,000,000 acres; 63,000 km2; 24,000 sq mi), destroyed over 2,500 buildings (including over 1,300 houses) and killed 24 people as of January 4th, 2020, . . . . And it's only the beginning of the fire season.
Yes, so much larger than anything before
Astronuc said:
There will probably be some government program for relief and recovery.
From the PM's office: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/bushfire-relief-and-recovery
Sadly, almost too little, too late :frown:
The PM, Mr Morrison, has taken some very heavy flack/verbal abuse when he visited the fire grounds.
The country sends 100's of millions of dollars overseas in aid every year and it can't even look after it's
own country to that extent :frown:Yesterday, Saturday 4th Jan, at home, hit 47C for the first time.
The city of Penrith, in the western Sydney Basin, hit 49C. That's 120 F for you imperial usersDave
 
  • Wow
Likes Astronuc
  • #31
davenn said:
Yes, so much larger than anything before
Yes, unprecedented. Yet, "Authorities are bracing for a dangerous new phase in the bushfires tonight, with high temperatures and strong winds set to exacerbate the already devastating fire conditions across the country." Unimaginable.

https://www.news.com.au/national/new-south-wales-victoria-and-south-australia-bushfires-crisis-day-of-hell-arrives/live-coverage/8461073cb45dfc0abd5d2048410b221f

And - "Meanwhile, a picture of devastation is emerging on Kangaroo Island in South Australia – half of which has been razed by an out-of-control blaze that has killed at least two people." Half of kangaroo island!

https://7news.com.au/news/bushfires...nds-of-koalas-feared-injured-or-dead-c-632614

https://www.ffm.vic.gov.au/history-and-incidents/past-bushfires
"Fire agencies responded to more than 1,000 fires across Victoria from mid-December 2006 to mid-March 2007. The total area burned exceeded 1,200,000 hectares." The current set of fires has already covered 5 times that, > 6.3M hectares.

https://www.news.com.au/national/severe-weather-update-bom-maps-wind-change-across-fire-affected-regions/video/63f1d62d6a15a4cd876bf436287e5c34
 
  • Sad
Likes davenn
  • #33
I am surprised by Kangaroo Island. The climate is not as severe as around Sydney at the moment. One site describes the climate as "Kangaroo Island never really gets too hot or too cold. In fact, the average temperature here is between 11 and 19°C. Winters (June to September) are mild and wet, while summers (December to February) are warm and dry." https://kangarooisland-australia.com/kangaroo-island-weather.php

It's surrounded by water, yet dry enough to have a massive bushfire!
 
  • Like
Likes davenn
  • #34
  • #35
Looking back, I found the following comment in 2011 reflecting on the fire seasons in the 1970s: "A scientist warns Australia faces a catastrophic bushfire risk, similar to a summer of the mid-1970s when 15 per cent of the continent went up in flames." https://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-10-06/bushfires-summer-csiro-warning/3317630

I remember vividly the 1969 bushfire between Melbourne and Geelong. "On the 8th January 1969, 280 fires broke out in Victoria. Of these,12 grass fires reached major proportions and burnt out 250,000 hectares. Areas seriously affected included Lara, Daylesford, Dulgana, Yea, Darraweit, Kangaroo Flat and Korongvale. Twenty-three people died, including 17 motorists at Lara, trapped on the Geelong to Melbourne freeway. The fires also destroyed 230 houses, 21 other buildings and more than 12,000 stock."
http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/disaster/fire/display/95415-1969-lara-bushfire

It was personal since my grandfather was station master in Lara. I believe he had just left the position and moved to Melbourne. He relayed the devastation of various landmarks, such as the grain silos, we used to visit. My brother and I would spend holidays and weekends (back in the early 1960s) in Lara and just hang out at the train station and play in the rail yard.
 
  • Sad
Likes davenn

Similar threads

  • Earth Sciences
Replies
8
Views
1K
Replies
7
Views
7K
Replies
16
Views
5K
  • General Discussion
Replies
27
Views
4K
Replies
235
Views
16K
  • Earth Sciences
Replies
11
Views
11K
  • Earth Sciences
Replies
28
Views
7K
Replies
6
Views
12K
  • General Discussion
Replies
2
Views
1K
  • Sci-Fi Writing and World Building
Replies
6
Views
2K
Back
Top