Fires in Southeast Australia
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Fires in Southeast Australia

April 20, 2007

On April 13, 2007, the MODIS on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of multiple fires burning in southeastern Australia, in the states of Victoria and New South Wales. Locations of active fires are marked in red.

According to information from Victoria's Department of Sustainability and Environment, fires across the region were a mixture of managed fires to reduce fuel loads (dry vegetation) as well as bushfires.

Global warming is hitting Australia hard. Record-breaking heatwaves, droughts and wildfires have scorched much of the south, while northern regions have faced severe cyclones and torrential downpours.

Australia's weather is getting much warming: 2005 was the hottest year on record, and last year was not far behind. Temperatures have risen by about 1.8F (1 C) since the 1950s, faster than the global average. Many regions are withering under an unprecedented drought that has lasted up to ten years.

The outlook is grim, with Victoria heading for its driest April yet and little sign of rain for the rest of this month and possibly even up to June. Even an average winter's rainfall would not restore water reserves.

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