Bushfires rage across Tasmania


The Tasmanian Fire Service has declared a total fire ban on January 7/8. North-West coastal communities were put on high alert, triggering a number of evacuations, as 80km/h winds drove the Montumana fire towards their towns last night. Major fires continue to burn uncontrolled in Mathinna, in the north-east, near Bicheno on the East Coast, and a massive firefront has taken hold near Giblin River in the remote south-west.

Photos of bushfires in Dunalley (Credit: Gravelly Beach firefighter Warwick Schultz/Examiner) Dunalley was one of the hardest hit areas, with about 65 properties destroyed. (Credit: Toby Zerna)


The blazes destroyed more than 100 homes, including many in the small community of Dunalley. More than 100 people were missing after fire tore through the town. Authorities continued the grim search for bodies in burnt-out properties in the Dunalley area.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image showing numbers fires burning across the island on January 7, 2013. Red outlines indicate hot spots where MODIS detected unusually warm surface temperatures associated with fires. (NASA image courtesy of LANCE MODIS Rapid Response. Caption by Adam Voiland)


Intense bushfires blazed in Tasmania, an island south of Australia, from the beginning of January.

Extreme heat and strong winds fueled the fires. Temperatures in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, soared to a record high of 41.8°Celsius (107.2°Fahrenheit) on January 4.

This series of images show the island on successive days taken by the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite’s VIIRS instrument January 5, 6 and 7, 2013. In the northwest corner of Tasmania the Montumana Fire can be seen to change direction as the winds have changed to a southwest tack over the course of the last three days.


Source: Examiner, Mercury, Earth Observatory

Featured image: Fire front impacting Dunalley on January 7 taken by Gravelly Beach firefighter Warwick Schultz


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One Comment

  1. Tasmania and several of our other states and territories have suffered through horrendous heat and fire outbreaks. It has been a worrying time, and unfortunately, that even though some of our temperatures have dropped from the 40’s degree Celsius to other totally ‘opposite’ temperatures (like 7 degrees Celsius in Tasmania and, for example, 13C in Melbourne), we aren’t ‘out-of-the-woods’ yet. Even one region in Tasmania is expecting snow above 1000 metres today.
    We have many more weeks of summer to go, and though some parts have had some good rainfall, it only takes a warm day to dry up this moisture and the already ‘tinder-dry’ landscapes will be ready to be concerning regions for potential catastrophic fires again.
    Summer is usually a lovely time of the year for Oz, but I feel that many of us may be glad to see the end of this season already.

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