The magnitude of the fires in Australia put in perspective as eight million hectares burns as they enter their fifth month of wild bushfires.
Since September 2019 bushfires have raged across Australia and have now destroyed an area as the island of Ireland. The devasting fires seem set to continue as another heatwave is forecast for later this week.
So far the fires have destroyed eight million hectares of land. To put that in perspective the Republic of Ireland is estimated to be seven million hectares.
The Australian fires are mainly concentrated on the east coast. New South Wales has been the hardest hit, and significant fires have also hit Queensland and Victoria. Australia's largest cities, Sydney in New South Wales and Melbourne in Victoria have both been seriously effected by smoke haze. The country's capital, Canberra, last week recorded air quality poorer than that in Calcutta, India.
Here are some of the other shocking figures to illustrate the horror of the national disaster:
- 6 months: How long ago a specific warning was given to the government by experienced fire chiefs.
- 25: The number of people who have died since the fires began.
- 28: The number who have been declared missing since the fires began.
- 1,300: Homes destroyed.
- 480 million: Estimated number of animal deaths so far.
- 160: Fires currently active in New South Wales.
- 2628km: The distance the smoke traveled from New South Wales to Auckland last weekend.
- 250 million tonnes: The amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the fires from August through to December 2019.
- 535 million tonnes: The total amount of carbon dioxide emitted by Australia in 2018.
- 16km: The altitude to which "pyro-cumulonimbus" clouds have risen above East Gippsland. When a bushfire grows large enough it begins to generate its own storm, which spreads the fire further via lightning strikes.
- 260,730: The number of indigenous Australians who live in New South Wales, the state most severely affected by fires.
- 250km: Land in New South Wales declared an emergency zone in need of evacuation.