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Australian fires toll may exceed 200

Posted by feww on February 9, 2009

The Australian govt. blames ‘arsonists’ for the worst bushfires in the country’s History

As the known death toll reaches about 120, and the bushfires incinerate up to 1,000 homes, the government blames ‘arsonists’ for starting the fires.

“We will throw the book at you if you are caught,” New South Wales Premier Nathan Rees reportedly said.

Below is a list of Australia’s  recorded death toll and property damage from bushfires (Source: BBC UK)

  • February 16,  1983.  75 dead, 2,300 homes destroyed in “Ash Wednesday” bushfires in Victoria and South Australia
  • January 8, 1969.  At least 22 dead, 230 homes lost in rural Victoria
  • February 7,  1967.  62 dead, 1,300 homes destroyed in fires in Hobart, Tasmania
  • January 13, 1939.   71 dead, 700 homes destroyed in “Black Friday” fires in Victoria
  • February – March 1922.  60 died in Gippsland, eastern Victoria

Number of alleged arsonists arrested in the above incidents: NONE reported.


A bushfire burns in the Bunyip Sate Forest near the township of Tonimbuk, Victoria, Australia 07 February 2009. Authorities have issued urgent fire warnings to towns near a bushfire burning out of control east of Melbourne. EPA/ANDREW BROWNBILL. Image may be subject to copyright.

A total of 12 bushfires are burning out of control across Victoria, comprising about 26 blazes,  covering up to 225,000 hectare of land.

Bushfires in Southeast Australia


This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite shows multiple large fires (outlined in red) burning in Victoria on February 7. Huge plumes of smoke spread southeast, driven by fierce winds. The large version of the image shows a large dust storm blowing over interior deserts to the northwest. These fires sprang up and exploded in size in just a few short hours. The image captured by the Terra MODIS sensor just a few hours prior to this image showed no sign of these fires. Twice-daily images of southeastern Australia are available from the MODIS Rapid Response Team. NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey.

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3 Responses to “Australian fires toll may exceed 200”

  1. […] The catastrophic fire warning comes in the wake of February’s bushfires, which killed at least 173 people across Victoria. […]

  2. […] Australian fires toll may exceed 200 […]

  3. feww said

    Update:

    – Some 173 people are confirmed dead
    – At least 25 blazes remain out of control
    – Some 330,000 hectares have so far been razed by bushfires
    – Up to 1,000 homes and structures are burnt out
    – Entire towns have been declared crime scenes [!]

    Videos of fire damage
    http://www.theage.com.au/interactive/2009/national/darkestday/video.html

    Blazes across Victoria as bushfire disaster toll rises
    http://www.theage.com.au/national/blazes-across-victoria-as-bushfire-disaster-toll-rises-20090210-82ip.html?page=-1

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