Extremely hot and dry weather in southern Australia has led to a number of brush fires. On the island of Tasmania, south of the Australian continent, fires that started in early 2013 have already burned over 148,000 acres. Losses have reached $43 million and are likely to exceed $100 million. In the township of Dunalley over 40% of the structures have been destroyed. There are no reported deaths caused by the fires, though over 100 persons are listed as missing.
Firefighters are beginning to contain the fires; cooler weather is forecast in the near future, though the forecast also includes increased winds.
Landsat satellite data, acquired on February 3, 2012, show conditions under “normal” circumstances; January 4, 2013, imagery show the burned areas and smoke rising from active fires. The Landsat data will be used to monitor current conditions and to measure the impact of the fires on regional land cover as the Australian government eventually moves to reclamation efforts.