The new year started on a ‘hot’ note in Southern Australia,. On 2nd January, Adelaide recorded a maximum temperature of 44.1°C, while Melbourne saw the maximum settle at 40.5°C. Such high temperatures make the bushes dry and more prone to bush fires. The summers in Australia are always susceptible to bushfires as the forests are full of gum trees which is also known as Eucalyptus. Eucalyptus is famous for producing antiseptic oil which is used in various medicines, but on the flip side, it is highly inflammable and readily catches fire. These trees also produce some volatile compounds which allow haze to settle down over Eucalyptus forest. Interestingly this haze is blue and that’s why nearby mountains get their name as Blue Mountains and Eucalyptus forest extends up to these mountains.
This year the fire season has already reached a point where very severe wild fires can take place anytime. Authorities have already warned that this year bushfires may be as deadly as 1983 blazes. Bushfires have already caused residents of about 20 Adelaide towns to seek refuge at safer places. It has been reported that the ‘picturesque’ Adelaide hills is facing an ‘incredibly dangerous fire’ which is impossible to fight and contain to manageable limits. Similarly at Sampson Flat the fire is raging randomly in all directions.
- A total of 11 live fires have already burned up to 12500 hectares of land and forest.
- Total of 26 homes have been destroyed with 90 families in state shelters.
- No deaths have been reported but 29 people have been admitted in local hospitals.
- 700 fire fighters along with 10 water bombing aircraft have fought to contain the flames. Some more support is expected within 24 hours from Victoria.
Though high temperatures are the root cause of the bushfires, a decrease in temperature doesn’t make much difference to a burning fire. A change of wind direction, can turn a fire back on itself and in the process suppressing it by depriving it of fuel, would be something which people would pray for.