Australia has been burning for the last month. We’ve had hundreds of fires and an immense area of the country has burnt (when you consider 85% of the population live within 50km / 31 miles of the coast).

To give you an idea, the map below is the status as of today in just one state (and territory). The whole eastern coastline looks like this (and the western and southern ones have fires as well).

New South Wales coast line (I live in Canberra near the bottom of the map)
Dark grey areas are what has already burnt
Red are current fires, blue are fires that are under control, yellow are “watch and act”
1cm = 50km OR 1/5th of an inch = 31 miles

Below is a photo taken near Port Macquarie (right on the coast in about the centre of the map above – you can see the “rt” with “”arie” underneath it)

Photo by Benjamin Waters

We are only 6 days into summer. We’re already in drought with no rain forecast for at least the next few months. A very hot summer predicted (el Nino conditions for any weather buffs out there).

If anyone knows a good rain dance, please share!

8 comments on “Burning

  1. I am so sorry to read this! I have another blogger friend in Australia who shared her friend’s farm getting burned a few months ago. It’s insane! I can’t even imagine! Stay safe!

    • Luckily I think we are okay where we are. But my city burnt in 2003. From
      “The 2003 Canberra bushfires caused severe damage to the suburbs and outer areas of Canberra, the capital city of Australia, during 18–22 January 2003. Almost 70% of the Australian Capital Territory’s (ACT) pastures, pine plantations, and nature parks were severely damaged, and most of the Mount Stromlo Observatory was destroyed. After burning for a week around the edges of the ACT, the fires entered the suburbs of Canberra on 18 January 2003. Over the next ten hours, four people died, over 490 were injured, and 470 homes were destroyed or severely damaged, requiring a significant relief and reconstruction effort.”

  2. This is horrifying. We have been having some similar fires burning on our west coast for the past couple of years – well, there are fires every summer, but these ones took it to a whole new level…
    I remember visiting my sister in Kelowna in 2017 and the hazy sky being a strange yellow colour from the nearby fires, and becoming covered with ash and soot every time I ventured outdoors.
    If I knew a rain dance, I’d be dancing it for you, AJ.


    • Thanks, Deb. Our fires are so bad, the smoke has made it to New Zealand…and the pristine white-capped mountains are now pink coloured because of it.

      While we haven’t had fires right here, we’ve had days where the sky has been heavy with smoke.

  3. If it’s an El Nino year, then it’s us who are getting the rain. So sorry to see the fires. I know exactly what that’s like.

    • Yep, you guys should be damp 🙂

      We’re used to fires in Oz – it’s a dry, harsh country. But this season has started waaaaaay early, and burnt harder and fiercer than normal. This season is bad.

      I just checked stats to date:
      – 2.2 million hectares (5.5 million acres) has burnt so far in the two worst hit states (another three have fires as well)
      – over 7,000 fires since late winter (August)
      – close to 1,000 homes lost
      – sadly 6 lives.

  4. That’s intense and scary! I really hope extreme drought isn’t becoming the new normal, but we see it here in the states, too. Colorado isn’t usually quite as bad as California, but we’ve had some really bad summers in recent memory. Working on my rain dance now…

    • I remember a nasty drought when I was a kid. I’m not sure they are worse yet – time will tell if they are the new norm. Fingers crossed they aren’t!

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