Common causes: Lightning strikes or humans (cigarettes or light blazes), or controlled burns that spiral out of control.
Do you know? The driest weather in Australia was recorded last 18 December. This, plus the freak weather patterns, fanned the flames.
Scientists believe climate change and the extremely dry weather in Australia worsened the fires.
- 12 million acres burned
- 480 million (estimated) affected, killed or driven off
- On average: 17.5 mammals, 20.7 birds and 129.5 reptiles per hectare (10,000 square metres, so a square 100m on each side – about the size of a rugby pitch)
- 23 people killed
- Animals affected include kangaroos, emus, koalas
Impact: Health, irreversible damage to ecosystem and biodiversity
Sources: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au, https://statista.com, Reuters.com, BBC.com