How the 2019 Australian bushfire season compares to other fire disasters

How the 2019 Australian bushfire season compares to other fire disasters, by Charis Chang.

The 2009 Black Saturday fires claimed the most lives, with 173 people. But the most destructive event, which happened in 1974 and burned 117 million hectares, does not have a name because most of the land was in central Australia and so it did not impact many communities.

“The 1974/75 fires had almost no impact and much of the damage was found by satellite after the fact,” Prof Pyne told news.com.au.

Source: NASA Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) satellite data.

AUSTRALIA, 2019/20

Death toll: 25 people dead so far

Damage: About 10 million hectares burned, including 5 million hectares in NSW. …

BLACK SATURDAY, 2009

Death toll: 173 people died

Damage: 450,000 hectares burned …

CANBERRA, 2003

Death toll: 4 people

Damage: About 160,000 hectares …

ASH WEDNESDAY, 1983

Death toll: 47 people in Victoria, 28 people in South Australia

Damage: 150,000 hectares in Victoria and 160,000 hectares in South Australia …

AUSTRALIA, 1974

Death toll: 3 people in NSW

Damage: About 117 million hectares …

BLACK TUESDAY, 1967

Death toll: 62 people killed, 900 injured

Damage: 264,270 hectares burned, 1,293 homes destroyed

BLACK SUNDAY, 1955

Death toll: Two firefighters

Damage: 40,000 hectares burned …

BLACK FRIDAY, 1939

Death toll: 71 people

Damage: About 2 million hectares …

BLACK SUNDAY, 1926

Death toll: 60 people

Damage: Estimated 400,000 hectares burned …

RED TUESDAY, 1898

Death toll: 12 people

Damage: 260,000 hectares burned and 2000 buildings destroyed …

BLACK THURSDAY, 1851

Death toll: 12 people.

Damage: 5 million hectares burned, about a quarter of the state of Victoria.