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Updated on 23 Jan 2020. Posted on 6 Jan 2020

15 Maps, Graphs And Charts That Help Explain Australia's Current Bushfire Situation

The size of the fires is now more than 82 times the size of Singapore.

1. This summer's bushfire season is the worst Australia's ever seen, with fires currently blazing across the country.

For all of Aus: https://t.co/Wp1DkcZzS5

2. These fires have also brought an unprecedented level of death and destruction — not only to our fellow countrymen, but to our precious land and wildlife.

At 2.15pm there are 148 fires, 60 are not contained. Around 2,700 firefighters are in the field. There are large areas of active fire in the south east of the state including 1 Emergency Warning and 11 Watch and Act. Road closures may occur at short notice. #nswrfs #nswfires

3. The situation has been compared to similar natural disasters in other parts of the world, including the 2018 California wildfires — but the size and scale of what's going on in Australia is unprecedented.

An up-to-date figure sees the blaze having now burned closer to 6 million hectares.

4. And the impacts of the fires are being felt from afar, with smoke plumes stretching across the Tasman Sea to neighbouring New Zealand.

Australia's fires absolutely explode today, generating massive smoke plumes and pyrocumulus (via Japan's Himawari 🛰 https://t.co/zuI48WhBtK)

5. In order to understand the scale of this disaster, many climate scientists and data experts have been comparing the size of the Australian fires to major cities across the globe.

This shows a 2.2m ha area square, which is approximately the amount of burned area in NSW and QLD - we had a lot of requests to show total area after the prev. maps we did but full burned area data not yet available https://t.co/KKdxz7qvVm

6. If we were to compare the Australian fires and the smoke they've produced to the size of Europe, about half the continent would be covered in a smoke cloud.

The area of ground burnt in Australia is 60,000 km² and the smoke covers a truly enormous area of 5.5 million km². This is what this would look like over Europe. #climatechange #globalwarming #dataviz

7. And if we were to compare the blaze to the size of other countries, well, some of them would have burned many times over.

And a couple of interesting ones: #gischat #augistribe

The Australian fires have now burned a landmass of what would be equivalent to more than 82 times the size of Singapore.

8. The situation is dire even for people not living directly in bushfire areas. Air quality in many cities and towns has exceeded hazardous levels.

This graph shows the amount of harmful pollutants in Greater Sydney's air since the start of this season's bushfire crisis compared to previous years https://t.co/ssqGErOZNA

9. Meaning that breathing in the toxic air on some days is almost as bad as smoking a packet of cigarettes.

did not quit smoking for this 🤦🏼‍♀️ #AustralianFires

10. Many have attributed the severity of the fires to global warming.

Facts don’t lie. BOM shows it’s gotten hotter. This is approx 1C. It could be double that unless we move fast. Today’s tragic inferno #AustraliaBurns is a #ClimateEmergency. The best of us; volunteer firefighters. The worst; a government that downplays, denies & refuses to act.

11. And the increase in local temperatures over the past century certainly supports that claim.

Average temperature in Australia for 1910-2019. One stripe per year. Warmest year on record in 2019. #warmingstripes Data: https://t.co/8Pv5G0pRBD

12. This research — completed by climate scientists almost two years ago — forecasted that southern parts of Australia would see increased fire danger should the global temperature increase by 2 degrees.

In our 2018 paper led by Chantelle Burton, we estimated that at 2C global warming, much of SW and SE Australia would see an additional 20 - 30 days per year with the Fire Danger Index at "high" or above Same in much of Africa, S America & parts of Europe https://t.co/L1zApd6YMx

13. And this chart shows how Australia has gotten hotter and dryer in recent years, which has contributed to the current inferno.

Though many factors contribute to wildfires, the reason the Australian wildfires are so much worse this year than other recent years is the combination of record drought and record heat. #AustraliaFires History of national-average temperature and precipitation since 1910.

14. There have been suggestions that the out-of-control nature of these fires has been partially due to a decrease in hazard reduction activities, aka controlled burns – but they have actually remained consistent for the past few years.

The latest @NSWRFS annual report shows that the annual amount of hazard reduction work has remained steady over the past four years: https://t.co/3UUKkjKPzl

15. And when it comes to finding funds to combat climate... former NSW government minister Verity Firth shared this suggestion.

But how are we going to find the money to solve #ClimateChange? #AustralianFires #NSWFires Via Aaron Seymour on Facebook

If you'd like to do something to help fight the Australian fires, please donate to the NSW Rural Fire Service (who are supporting emergency fire services), the Australian Red Cross (who are helping people who have been displaced due to this crisis) and WIRES (who are rescuing and supporting Australian wildlife).

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