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Record-breaking temperatures and months of severe drought have fueled a series of massive bushfires across Australia. New South Wales has been the worst-hit state so far, with more than 12 million acres and 1,300 homes burned. Thousands of people are seeking shelter from the fires. Approximately 130 fires are burning in the bush, mountain forests and national parks throughout the state as of January 15, 2020. Due to the prolonged drought and strong winds, conditions are primed for the fire to spread rapidly. To put the New South Wales fire damage into perspective, about 2.2 million acres were lost in the 2019 Amazon fires and around 1.9 million acres were burned in the 2018 California wildfires. Maxar’s Open Data Program imagery efforts will be focusing on New South Wales as this area has been hit the hardest.
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