Last update: December 9th, 2019 at 8:00 am
Deadly bushfires burned out of control in parts of southwestern Western Australia, Southern Australia, and Victoria in the opening days of 2016. The worst was a lightning-sparked bushfire which ignited south of Perth on January 6. It burst through tinder-dry grassland to consume the town of Yarloop, destroying at least 162 homes in that town and surrounding areas, as well as 18 other commercial and community buildings, caravans and sheds. Two people were reported killed in that blaze. By mid-January rains had come to the region, reducing the risk of runaway fires.
The northwestern coast of Western Australia, in contrast, has had minimal fire activity in January of this year.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image on January 15. Several red hotspots mark areas where the thermal sensors detected high temperatures which, in this location and at this time of year, are typical signatures of fire activity. The hotspots are small and are best seen in the 500 km image. The fires are burning not on the mainland, but on islands offshore. These islands include, from southwest to northeast, Serrurier Island, Barrow Island, Middle Island and Legendre Island.