Houston, TX – According to the BBC, despite recent rains and cooler weather, more than 100 brush fires still ravage across Australia and while this isn’t nearly as extensive as in December, the fight goes on, especially in Victoria and New South Wales which are in the southeastern section of the continent:
These fires have killed 28 people and more than a billion animals. While fires have always been a problem in Australia, this year has been particularly dry because of what is called the Indian Ocean Dipole. This climate phenomenon sets up a pattern of cool, wet weather in the western Indian Ocean, with dry, hot weather in the east--and that is where Australia lies:
The fires so far have burned just over 38,000 square miles of bush, forest and parks. To get an idea of what this would mean to Texas, I drew a circle of just about that number of square miles:
So you can imagine all of this land in the circle above being scorched to the earth: from Houston to the Hill Country, from Victoria to Waco and more. This is 25,000,000 (25 million!) acres. We saw the results of the Bastrop County Fire in 2011, the most destructive in Texas History which by comparison burned 34,000 acres.
And after four months of these fires, Australia doesn’t reach their ‘peak fire season’ until later this month.