Australia is burning and the world can only watch with bated breath as firefighters and ordinary Australians alike do their part in battling what is perhaps one of the worst prolonged natural disasters in modern history.
All the pictures of burning forests gutted homes, and severely injured koalas and other wildlife have certainly painted a picture of bleak desperation as people try to come to grips with the devastation that the blazes have wrought.
But now, a graphic was released using data from NASA’s satellites and shows the horrifying scale of the brushfires that are literally sweeping the Australian countryside. Literally, Australia is on fire.
The images were taken between December 5 of last year and January 5 and show the brightest spots located in News South Wales and Victoria.
Anthony Hearsey, the image’s creator, clarified that the graphic is a 3D visualization of the fires, not an actual picture.
“Scale is a little exaggerated due to the render’s glow, but generally true to the info from the NASA website,” he said.
“Also note that NOT all the areas are still burning, and this is a compilation,” he added.
Six million hectares of land have been razed, an area about the size of the Republic of Ireland, and at least 25 people have died. But it’s the Australian wildlife that has born the brunt of the blazes with billions believed dead with some species possibly going extinct.
While conditions have become milder, giving emergency workers a temporary respite, experts believe the worst days are yet to come.
February is usually the peak of fire season and it’s during that time that the nation has experienced its worst bushfire disasters.
Weatherzone meteorologist Tom Hough said: “Warmer than average and drier than average is the trend that looks to be continuing.
“Based on the climate outlooks it doesn’t look like we’re going to see any significant rainfall.”
Monash University emeritus professor Neville Nicholls said in The Conversation that while Australia has already simmered under severe heatwaves this summer, there is worse weather ahead.
“They usually peak in the middle and end of summer, so the worst may be yet to come.”