Thursday, January 09, 2020

How Big Are the Australian Bushfires?

It is very difficult to appreciate the devastating scale of the wild fires which have been raging across Australia over the last few months. In an attempt to help visualize the size of the bushfires there have been a number of misleading maps published on the internet.

However not all the published maps have been misleading. Both the Berliner Morgenpost and the Guardian have created interactive maps which show you the scale of the Australian fires by comparing the area burnt with any location on Earth.

How big is the burned area in Australia - compared to your region, by the Morgenpost, uses a yellow circle to represent the 10 million hectares of Australia which have been laid waste by the bushfires. You can enter any location in the world to see the circle in comparison to towns and cities which you are familiar with. You can also drag the circle around on the interactive map.

The Guardian's How big are the fires burning in eastern Australia? is a very similar map. On this map the fires are represented by a large square. When the Guardian first published this map at the beginning of December it used a 2.2m hectare sized square to show the size of the bushfires which have been burning in Australia. Since December the Guardian has had to update the size of this square more than once. The square now represents a size of 10.7 million hectares.

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