Bushfires 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. Especially in New South Wales the situation has been destructive and immense compared to previous wildfires in this region. 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 a long-term damage to many sensitive ecosystems.
We give you a view from space and show you three PROBA-V 100 m images of Australia’s capital Canberra and its surroundings. The images clearly show the size and course of the fires. The left image (27 November 2019) shows some of the first scattered wildfires. By the end of the year (29 December 2019, middle panel), a large area had already burned down, as can be recognized by the brown colors. 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 2020, showing extensive burnt areas in brown along the coast.