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Canberra, Australia

05 February 2020

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Wildfires in Australia

Wildfires frequently occur during the hot and dry Australian summer season, but the 2019-2020 fire season has been extreme. Since September 2019, hundreds of major wildfires have scourged the country severely. A total area of ~110,000 km², which is larger than Portugal, has burned.

The fires have not only destroyed acres of land but have also killed tens of people as well as an estimated 1 billion animals. Families have been forced to evacuate their homes and scientists fear  long-term damage to many sensitive ecosystems. 

The Proba-V 100 m images below show Australia's capital Canberra and its surroundings. The left image (27 November) shows some of the first scattered wildfires. By the end of the year (29 December, centre image), a large area had already burnt down, as can be recognized by the brown colours. The smoke and ash plume of a new major fire east of Canberra is well visible in white/yellow in the image center. The right image shows the situation on 25 January, showing extensive burnt areas in brown along the coast.


© ESA-BELSPO 2020, produced by VITO
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