Australia on Fire
acquired January 6, 2013 download large image (199 KB, JPEG, 2400x1800)
acquired January 6, 2013 download GeoTIFF file (4 MB, TIFF)
acquired January 6, 2013 download Google Earth file (KMZ)
Australia on Fire
acquired January 9, 2013 download large image (5 MB, JPEG, 6400x6800)

Since the end of December 2012, hundreds of bushfires have raged throughout Australia, fueled by a record-breaking heatwave. Some of the most damaging fires struck Tasmania, a large island off the coast of Victoria. Blazes that raced through the town of Dunalley on January 4 destroyed more than 100 homes.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image (top) showing numerous fires across the island on January 6, 2013. Red outlines indicate hot spots where MODIS detected the unusually warm surface temperatures associated with fires.

Hundreds of uncontrolled fires also burned throughout New South Wales and Victoria, the two most populous Australian states. Three of the most intense were the Deans Gap fire, the Yarrabin fire, and the Cobbler Road fire. On January 9, 2012, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured an image (bottom) of the three fires.

Extreme heat and strong winds have fueled the spate of fires. According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), the national average temperature on January 7 reached 40.3°Celsius (104.6°Fahrenheit), breaking a record set in 1972. Temperatures were so extreme that Australian meteorologists were forced to add additional color bands to their forecasting maps.

Australia on Fire

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More in this Event (view all)
Wildfires in Northern Australia Wildfires in Australia Fires Across Cape York Peninsula Wildfires in Tasmania Wildfires in New South Wales Nighttime Fires near Alice Springs, Central Australia Burn Scar from the Yarrabin Fire in New South Wales Bushfire Burn Scar near Dunalley, Tasmania Giblin River Fire Burn Scar in Tasmania Saving Siding Spring Observatory Fires in Southeastern Australia