Fire Earth

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Archive for the ‘arson’ Category

Image of the Day: Human Excesses

Posted by feww on February 10, 2009

Mother Nature or Arson?

Nature Robs What Human Excesses Wall Street Fails to Steal

Australian couple stand stunned among the ruins of their home in Victoria. Photo: John Woudstra. Image may be subject to copyright.

Bushfire devastation. (User submitted via ABC Contribute: shaz67).  Image may be subject to copyright.

Bushfire crisis: Grisly body search continues as death toll rises.The search for bodies in burnt-out houses continues. (AFP: William West). Image may be subject to copyright.

[“The Terracotta Horse.”] A horse that was trapped by the raging fires lies dead at the side of the road near the community of Kinglake, north east of Melbourne, Australia February 9, 2009. Weary firefighters and rescuers pulled the remains of dozens of people from charred buildings on Monday as the death toll rose to 130 [173] from southern Australia’s deadliest bushfires. REUTERS/Rick Rycroft/Pool.

Earth Observatory: Bushfires in Southeast Australia

Natural color

False color

NASA Earth Observatory images acquired February 9, 2009

Bushfires in southeastern Australia turned deadly over the first weekend of February 2009. Out-of-control fires raced into small communities and towns in Victoria, and more than 100 people had died as of February 9, according to news reports. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC News) reported that many of those who died had remained to protect their homes. Among the most devastated communities were those in the Kinglake area and Marysville. As of February 9, firefighters were expressing concern about the increased activity of the fire around the town of Dederang, southwest of Lake Hume.

This pair of images shows the Barry Mountains of central Victoria on February 9, 2009. The image at top is a natural-color (photo-like) view captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Places where the sensor detected active fire are outlined in red. The lower image is the same scene shown in false color, using visible, near-infrared, and shortwave infrared light. Burned areas are brick red, and places of intense heat—often a sign of open flame in this kind of image—are glowing pink. Smoke turns a transparent blue, which makes it easier to see the ground.

Fire is a regular occurrence in the forests and grasslands of southeastern Australia, even in the absence of people. In the hot, dry summer months, vegetation dries out; lightning triggers many natural wildfires. However, in the past decade, the area has experienced several severe droughts, and in late January and early February, parts of South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales were also paralyzed by an exceptional heatwave. Conditions were primed for devastating fires, some of which appear to have been started by lighting and others, according to news reports, by arson. The event was the worst fire disaster in Australia’s history.

NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey.

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Posted in arson, Bushfire crisis, Living Hell, Mother Nature, New South Wales | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

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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Posted in arson, bushfires, Living Hell, Mother Nature, wildfires | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »