Black Saturday Bushfires, Australia
“What bushfires changed Australia’s fire-resistance paradigm forever?”
On 7 February 2009, an event transpires that would leave shock Australia to its foundation. Early that morning, the state of Victoria had been experiencing extremely high winds in excess of 100 km/h (62 mph), bringing a torrent of dry air from Central Australia. Concurrently, a near record-breaking heatwave had engulfed the state, making conditions perfectly ripe for a disaster. These winds brought down powerlines around the Kinglake/Whittlesea area, birthing a fire. This fire steadily but surely increased in size, and the ember from them spread during the night-time winds, creating more fires. The next day, many of these fires began to merge, uplifting them to a whole new level of carnage. In the ensuing weeks 173 people lost their lives 414 were injured and 7,562 displaced, 450,000 ha (1,100,000 acres) of land burnt, and over a million animals were lost. These events would go on to be named the Black Saturday Bushfires and were the most deadly recorded in Australia up to then. It soon resulted in a range of new policy guidelines and codes to be implemented.
Image credit http://www.abc.net.au