Sat imagery of Bushfires in New South Wales, Australia

From NASA:

NASA’s Terra satellite detected dozens of bushfires continued raging in the Australian state of New South Wales, outside of Sydney. Sydney is the state capital and the most populated city in Australia.

According to CNN, emergency managers in New South Wales declared a state of emergency. On Oct. 22, CNN reported that New South Wales was battling 62 fires on Oct. 22. More than 116,167 hectares (~287,000 acres) have already burned.

NASA’s Terra satellite passed over New South Wales, located in southeastern Australia on Oct. 27 at 00:10 UTC/Oct. 26 at 8:10 a.m. EDT.  The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard Terra satellite has infrared capabilities that can detect heat from the various wildfires. In the MODIS image the fire or hot spot appears red and smoke appears in light brown. The MODIS image showed that many fires and a large area of smoke from the combined fires were occurring in the Wollemi National Park, located northwest of Sydney. The MODIS image was generated at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Full size image here

Image: Jeff Schmaltz, NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team; Caption: Rob Gutro, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

About these ads

44 thoughts on “Sat imagery of Bushfires in New South Wales, Australia

  1. 62 fires, 287,000 acres total, just a bit larger than the RIM fire (Yosemite) at 257,314. Australia is NOT going up in flames, despite what the media babblers babble

  2. Well, these fires DO have a human component.
    A lot are caused by power lines starting the fires.
    And are made worse because the Greenies don’t want to let the bushland be safely burned off every few years.

    Great bumper sticker often seen where I live.
    “Fertilize the Bush,bulldoze in a Greenie”

  3. Forest fires are entirely natural – there are several species of insects that have evolved to make use of burnt wood to lay their eggs and can sense smoke from tens of miles away. Evolution takes a LONG time so forest fires must be extremely common for these species to survive.

    Whet the greens have done is ensure that forests can burn as they used to before they were ‘managed’. It is nothing to do with climate change and all to do with not clearing brush and trying to extinguish every small fire. The result is literally a tinderbox forest just set up for occasional firestorms.

  4. Note: Most of the bushfires in N.S.W. are in National Parks. More green. ‘Let us build up the fuel to have a good fire!!!!!’

  5. A lot of the fires being detected will be fire-breaks being created.
    This is the Green way of doing things – instead of hazard reduction burns we have a mad scramble ahead of the fire front.

  6. I recently discovered, through a “firey” mate of mine who has been fighting these fires, that there is something called a Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI). I discovered this was created first in Australia (Late 60’s, early 70’s) by a scientist at CSIRO and has been adopted by many countries with many varying climates. Its an algorithm that uses a dataset containing many factors as inputs such as rainfall, fire potential/fuel loads and midday maximum temperature/humidity and others. All this is funnelled into an algorithm which produces a number (FFDI) that indicates fire risk. What I also found is that, in Australia, the dataset was only complete after October 1999, and yet readily claimed by the MSM that is algorithm and dataset has produced a valid and reliable FFDI index since the early 70’s. I find that hard to believe given the dataset used was only complete since October 1999.

  7. Some of the country townships are not yet out of danger from destruction by flames, as this afternoon a fire broke out in the shrubbery of a house at Glebe Point, within a few minutes walk of the city. With the aid of the fire brigade it was subdued before it had a chance of spreading to any of the villas in that suburb.

    Coming down the coast from Brisbane H.M.S. Orlando, which arrived here on Saturday, was very much troubled by the dense smoke from the bushfires. “It was as bad,” said one of the officers, “as a fog in the English Channel at night ; it was impossible to see the lighthouse, and in the daytime it was equally out of the question to distinguish the coastline.”

    In Sydney the atmosphere was so obscured by smoke from countless bush fires that only a dull reddish light came from the sun. The atmosphere was most oppressive. Incoming ships report having the greatest difficulty in sighting either by day or night the entrance to Port Jackson. A steamer which had broken down and required assistance could not be discerned, although only a couple of miles off, owing to the smoky state of the air. The Government Astronomer states that there is not as yet the slightest sign of rain anywhere. On the Blue Mountains bush fires are raging in every direction, destroying fencing, burning sleepers on the railway line, and threatening homesteads. Dante’s Glen, one of the sights of tho mountain health resorts, has been completely ruined by fires.

    At Mount Victoria a boarding-house was burnt to ashes in a few minutes. Strenuous efforts are being made to save this and many other towns from total destruction. At Springwood a cottage has been destroyed. In the Hunter River district the fires are terrible. An incident here was the firing of the mailcoach, which attempted to run the gauntlet of a fire. At Stroud all the stock are being removed to spots where food is still obtainable. The whole south coast district seems aflame.

    The ocean is enveloped in smoke, and it is not visible from any great distance in shore. Bombala, Berry, Kiama, Pambula, and Wynham all complain of the devastation done by high winds and devouring bush fires.

    From the Hawkesbury district it is reported that the whole of the Kurrajong heights are ablaze. At loest six houses there have been burnt to the ground, and it is feared that one lady has lost her life. From many other towns reports arrive of severe losses, and of desperate efforts being required to avoid the annihilation of townships.

    The Hawkesbury district has suffered very severely. The Kurrajong Heights have been practically devastated. One farmer, Mr. Robert Pitt, had a terrible experience, as fires encroached to within 50 yards of his homestead. His outhouses, containing his implements and stores, were destroyed, bits of fused metal or glass alone showing their old sites. Even the ashes have been blown away by the high gales.

    On the Blue Mountains the ravages of the bush fires have been very severe. Nearly all the show places have been ruined. Several homesteads have been destroyed, and the Faulcon-bridge Cemetery has been burnt out. It is reported that an unworked coal pit has caught near Hartley Vale, and altogether the condition of affairs is most serious in this district.

    The New England, Central, Northern, Rivers, and Western districts have similar tales of destruction to tell.

    Reports from country districts today give the same monotonous details of devastation by bush fires, though in some parte the flames seem to be abating. In the vicinity of Wallsend [near Newcastle] the outbreak yesterday was very serious and the upper timbers of the Wallsend colliery caught fire. With difficulty the flames were extinguished before they had time to spread to the mine.

    No, this not a report on the recent fires in NSW by the ABC or Sydney Morning Herald. It is a report from September 14th, 1895

  8. The fires were not the earliest in the season. There have been fires in NSW and Sydney in September.. On Oct 16, 1991 there was a significant fire in the Baulkham Hills shire (suburban area in north west Sydney). Two people living on a ridge in sight from our house died when their house burnt down, A solid brick house two up from us was burnt to the ground. We lost all our fences and an outhouse that held geese. Ten years later in Dec 2001 the fires struck again, we again lost our fences around the house. We have a picture of the bitumen road burning in front of our property. The fires in Sydney are cyclical. Bush fire management by burning off in winter and keeping open fire trails for back burning is necessary to reduce the severity of fires and save property and lives.
    Greenies who on the one hand act in council to ban/restrict/resist fire management and clearing, and on the other hand blame global warming should be held responsible for fire damage and be jailed when someone dies in the fires.

  9. in the early 80s I lived near 29 26 15s and 30 07 45e surrounded by eucalyptus trees but no fire danger then and probably now – but all the properties had fire breaks by law. Ozzies dont believe in them.

  10. @tobyglyn – 1:42am

    Yes, it is raining and very windy coming from the south. Has brought down trees, suburbs without power (because of said downed trees), lightning, thunder and hail.

    Back when I was a wee-tacker in the late 60’s, early 70’s, it was called a ‘southerly buster’.

    Now, according to the local TV networks, it is ‘extreme weather’.

  11. The ’94 fires were a doozy. Lane Cove National Park which is about 15km from the city got burnt out as well as the Royal National in the Cronulla area. Nothing special this year.

  12. Steve B says:
    October 29, 2013 at 2:16 am
    I remember it coming up the Lane Cove National Park, and the helicopters dipping into the swimming pool at West Pymble.It was like a war zone with the sound of choppers and the heavy smoke.
    There is no doubt that the present lack of burning fire breaks has led to needless destruction.
    The Rural Fire Service back burned between the State Mines fire and Kurrajong, averting their danger.Many animals and people were evacuated from the Winmalee fire front, which was successfully back burned after the destruction of hundreds of homes.
    The firefighters are doing a good job back burning, something that must be done again next winter.
    So much is now known about the danger and impact of bushfire in Australia that minimum standards for hazard reduction and clearing must be made by the State Governments and applied to councils.
    Where councils slack off for reasons of ideology or incompetence, the State Government needs to put in an Administrator to get the job done.

  13. it is very simply if you upset nature it will bite you on the bum, over the last 40 years the greens have stopped or reduced burning the bush during winter. in the past nature burnt it on a natural time cycle, I know as I have 50 years service in the bush fire brigade

  14. The last 3 lots of devastating bush fires in Australia have been linked to Greenies interfering with back burning. When the fuel load gets too high, it must eventually go up in an almighty fire. The Victorian fires moved so quickly that even the birds could not fly away fast enough. Animals were not safe burying underground. Their loony thinking meant ALL their beloved animals were incinerated. Of course, the high-and-mighty Greenies were not to blame.Please note, the Nazis were an offshoot of the Green movement. The insane eco-centric ideas of the greenies are as crazxy as the craziest stuff from the Nazis.

  15. The satellite image is misleading.
    The fires that were the reason for the emergency are represented on the image by the westernmost 2 red spots shown halfway between the Wollemi National Park and Lake Burragorang labels. The northernmost cluster are controlled burns in the Hunter Valley in the Muswelbrook vicinity, mainly aimed at protecting the coal-fired power stations infrastructure. The two central clusters are also controlled burns one on private lands in the upper catchment of the MacDonald River and the other in the Colo-Wisemans Ferry area just beyond the northwest extension of the Sydney urban area.

  16. BTW it’s been a freezing cold October here – literally, it was -1C in Canberra. Typically 19-21C, more like August temps in SYD with a 33 in between. So – 1 hot day defines “climate weirding” and the climate responds not only to tax policy but also to ANNOUNCED tax policies that don’t take effect until Jul 2014! (Now that really WOULD be weird.)

  17. I remember the bush fires around Sydney in 2006 (or thereabouts). We didn’t call it global warming then. Just bush fires.

  18. Ian W says:
    October 29, 2013 at 1:07 am

    Forest fires are entirely natural – there are several species of insects that have evolved to make use of burnt wood to lay their eggs and can sense smoke from tens of miles away.

    Some Australian vegetation is dependent on fire for its life cycle while others had adapted to fire before man came along. The Aborigines used to deliberately light fires to hunt. They fought fire with fire. You could says that more fires is a natural return to the state of things.

    European Fire Regimes
    When Europeans first settled in Australia in 1788, they found a landscape dominated by eucalypts. Certainly there were some areas of dense vegetation which contained a greater diversity of trees. However, the dominant feature of the landscape was the ubiquitous gum tree. When expeditions began exploring the countryside around Sydney, they encountered a range of vegetation associations very different to those which we see in the National Parks around Sydney today. On soils derived from Hawkesbury sandstone, Wianamatta shale, Tertiary alluvial deposits, and igneous intrusions, they found environments which reminded them of the manicured parks of England, with trees well spaced and a grassy understorey.
    ………………
    This confirmed earlier accounts by Governor Phillip, who suggested that the trees were “growing at a distance of some twenty to forty feet from each other, and in general entirely free from brushwood …” (Phillip, 1789). It is clear that it was primarily Aboriginal burning practices which maintained an open environment dominated by well spaced trees and grass. Once the Aborigines stopped burning, the underbrush returned where none had previously existed. Benson and Howell (1990: 20) suggest that the growth of Bursaria spinosa in the Sydney area in the 1820s may be related to a changed fire regime, the cessation of Aboriginal burning.

    http://asgap.org.au/APOL3/sep96-1.html

  19. Abstract
    Aboriginal Resource Utilization and Fire Management Practice in Western Arnhem Land, Monsoonal Northern Australia: Notes for Prehistory, Lessons for the Future
    ……………..The implications of these data for prehistory and for contemporary land management practices in the region, are considered. It is suggested that pre-European patterns of fire management in the region are likely to have been practiced only over the past few thousand years, given the development of abundant food resources in the late Holocene. It is shown that traditional burning practice offers a generally useful, conservative model for living in and managing a highly fire-prone savanna environment.

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1021970021670

    The problem is that arriving Europeans had a strong affinity with property and an aversion to fires. Could this be the seed of the problem -fuel build up which was vigorously managed by the ‘original’ inhabitants of Australia. What are the chances of a serious fire next year in the areas already burnt? This is their chance, start burning and managing more, not less.

  20. More news on the New South Wales fires – another early start to the fire season.

    Fires Menace Sydney Area; Girl Killed
    Fanned by gale winds, hundreds of bush fires menaced Sydney suburbs today.
    The Miami NewsOct 10, 1957
    ——————————-
    Bush Fires Rage In Australia
    Settlers Driven From Homes Along New South Wales Coast
    A message from Brisbane says that city is encircled by flaming bush, and that every hill within 15 miles is ablaze.
    The Pittsburgh PressOct 14, 1926

  21. High Treason says:
    October 29, 2013 at 4:53 am
    “Please note, the Nazis were an offshoot of the Green movement. The insane eco-centric ideas of the greenies are as crazxy as the craziest stuff from the Nazis.”

    A bit too simplistic; they were as much an offshoot of nationalism, American progressive socialist eugenics, the general socialist/atheist spirit of the era, and esoterics as they were a Green movement. But 70% of the members of Der Wandervogel, the green pre-hippie movement, did join the NSDAP – far more than in the general population.

  22. It is just as well these fires are burning now, despite a number of houses lost. Imagine what a fire could have done here later in the summer during the post Christmas holidays. Temperature are often around 40C for days at a time.
    Most hazard reduction burns in Western Australia occur in the late winter and spring before it gets really hot, sometimes they get away, too. Over the years a number of towns have been wiped out by fires in the South West, making these hazard reduction burns an essential annual process.
    A hot fire in summer is always a nightmare scenario in Australia’s Eucalyptus forests.

  23. I live in tropical north Queensland where the T’s And R/F for September were much the same as they were in the last 20 years that I’ve recorded. We spent most of October in temperate Tasmania where we experienced T’s from -2 to 12 C most of the time, snow on 13th Oct, with snow on the tops, still, when we left on Oct. 24. We flew over the Australian Alps—covered in snow—-over Canberra ( having consistent morning lows of -1 C and then not far to the north we saw the bushfires west of Sydney. By the 27 Oct, the Climate Committee (previously the Climate Commission, now sacked) had firmly placed the blame for the fires on AGW. This in spite of the ADF admitting accidently starting one of the most severe outbreaks, and summary arrests of various youths. The press is screaming for an open debate on what to do as the threat from AGW incineration gets worse. The graphs from our official agencies of history of severe WEATHER events (flood,fire,cyclone,tornado etc) show no positive trends at all, but the same agengies are supporting the AGW meme! Stop the world. I want to get off. It’s not the climate average I’m afraid of; it’s people average.

  24. Ian W says:
    October 29, 2013 at 1:07 am

    “Forest fires are entirely natural – there are several species of insects that have evolved to make use of burnt wood to lay their eggs and can sense smoke from tens of miles away. Evolution takes a LONG time so forest fires must be extremely common for these species to survive.”

    Hear, hear!

    Dry savanah trees are fire resistant and fire tolerant, a feature of other dry country species worldwide.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_ecology#Fire_resistance

    Jack Pines and spruce cones need fire to spring open their cones and drop new seeds to the ground. Some birds only build nests in young jack pine so these also depend on fire!!

    http://techalive.mtu.edu/meec/module11/FireandJackPine.htm

    Man the ignorance of the experts has never been more roundly demonstrated than over the past 25-40 years. Where are the honest foresters and ecologists these days. I guess they must be hiding their views until retirement.

  25. Eucalyptus (gum trees many varieties) have oil in their leaves that is harvested for oil and has health benefits, same as tea tree oils. This is also on leaf matter, as they lose leaves all year round. But they have evolved with bush fires and will regenerate as their seeds need to be heated before germinating. All this bulshhh about bush fires being created from climate change is ignorant. Some of the fires were deliberately started by kids.
    Anyway we have had heavy rains and hail yesterday and possibly this is a blessing.Bush fires are part of Australia’s ancient history mainly from lightening strikes, well before this island continent was inhabited by human kind. Even the Greens leader Milne, said about her deputy Brand, that bush fires were not the result of climate change, have never or will be the case. I don’t think Aussies were impressed.

  26. I live in the upper Blue Mountains, and the local newspaper featured dozens of photos of houses destroyed by these bushfires. In almost every single case, bushland and trees were very close to the houses destroyed, and in some cases were right next to them. Mandating cleared areas around zones of housing would have avoided much of this loss of property.

    Tree-worshipping and green-tape have everything to do with it. People should not be shocked when Nature’s benign mask slips off once in a while.

  27. At least one of the biggest fires was started by the Army. They got a bit too enthusiastic while practising blowing things up. I’m sure that they wouldn’t have done that if there were less CO2 in the atmosphere.

  28. @ bushbunny

    So Acting Chief of Defence, Air Marshall Mark Binskin, was jumping the gun when he apologised on 24 October?

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/bushfires/nsw-bushfire-started-by-army-a-side-effect/story-fngw0i02-1226745716518

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/defence-apologises-for-starting-massive-state-mine-fire-20131024-2w3y7.html#ixzz2jBID2VUQ

    In his letter of 25 October

    http://news.defence.gov.au/2013/10/25/letter-to-the-editor-fairfax-media/

    he does not deny that the Army started the fire (though he does not confirm it, either) but does deny that the Army used too much explosive.

    It seems that the inquiry is to establish how it happened.

    I can’t find a denial anywhere, yet.

  29. I’m sick to death of this complete and utter BS and media hype.
    The Australian bush burns – PERIOD. Get over it.
    It always has and it always will – REGARDLESS of anything.

    It happens almost every single year – I have NO pity for the IDIOTS who build a house between the gum tree’s then whine and cry because their house burnt down etc..
    I have NO pity for the IDIOTS who actually listen to the many ILLEGAL local councils in these areas who refuse to allow people to clear bush from around their homes to prevent them burning down.
    Seriously just how stupid do you have to be to put your self in this position OR to allow an idiotic local council to prevent you from protecting yourself and your home? – I have no pity.

    Just like the other IDIOTS who build houses in flood prone areas – do this and suffer the consequences of your OWN stupidity – I have NO pity – no pity at all.

  30. Have a heart pet some day you might be fooled between white or grey space. There goes me or you only for the grace of god. Mary Ireland

  31. RoHO, Yes you are right, this denial was early in the piece, so are they going to pay for the damage? With a total fire ban who says explosives are exempt?

  32. I hope those kids too are charged. Especially the 11 year old who reoffended, then released again and he and his father gave the finger to the waiting media outside of court.

Comments are closed.