Bushfires in Australia are frequently occurring events during the hotter months of the year due to Australia's mostly hot, dry climate. Large areas of land are ravaged every year by bushfires, which also cause property damage and loss of life.
Certain native flora in Australia have evolved to rely on bushfires as a means of reproduction and fire events are an interwoven and an essential part of the ecology of the continent. In some eucalypt and banksia species, for example, fire causes seed pods to open, which allows them to germinate. Fire also encourages the growth of new grassland plants. Other species have adapted to recover quickly from fire.
For many thousands of years, Indigenous Australians people have used fire for a variety of purposes. These included the encouragement of grasslands for hunting purposes and the clearing of tracks through dense vegetation.
Major firestorms that result in severe loss of life are often named based on the day on which they occur, such as Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday. Some of the most intense, extensive and deadly bushfires commonly occur during droughts and heat waves, such as the 2009 Southern Australia heat wave, which precipitated the conditions during the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in which 173 people lost their lives.
We have been lucky in the past few years in that we have had cooler, wetter summers and thankfully no major bushfires. These photos are from the summer of 2003 when we were experiencing a severe drought in Victoria and here were numerous bushfires around Melbourne, often swathig our skies in smoke and producing some otherworldly sunsets.
This post is part of Sylvia's Skywatch Friday.