Black Saturday Bushfires 2009 (Australia) - Case Study

Case study on the Black Saturday Bushfires of 2009 in Australia, covering:

  • Causes
  • Effects
  • Response
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INTRODUCTION
The Black Saturday bushfires were a series of bushfires that ignited or were burning
across the Australian state of Victoria on and around Saturday 7 February 2009 during
extreme bushfireweather conditions. As many as 400 individual fires were recorded on
7 February.
CAUSE
The causes of the 400 individual fires do range a lot. It is believed that the majority of
fires were ignited by falling or clashing power lines or were deliberately lit. Other
suspected ignition sources of the fires include lightning, cigarette buts and sparks from
power tools from workers in the forests. However, something major happened a week
before the forest fires occurred. An exceptional heat wave hit South East Australia, with
Melbourne breaking records by having 3 consecutive days above 43oC, and the
temperature peaking at 45.1oC, making it the 3rd hottest days in the Cities history. The
heat wave was caused by a slow moving highpressure system that settled over the
Tasman Sea, with a combination of an intense tropical low located off the North West
Australian coast and a monsoon trough over Northern Australia, which produced ideal
conditions for hot tropical air to be directed down over southeastern Australia. The
February fires commenced on a day when several localities across the state, including
Melbourne, recorded their highest temperatures since records began in 1859.
EFFECTS
The fires destroyed over 2,029 houses, 3,500+ structures in total and damaged
thousands more. Many towns northeast of the state capital Melbourne were badly
damaged or almost completely destroyed. Many houses in the towns of Steels Creek,
Humevale, Wandong, St Andrews, Callignee, Taggerty and Koornalla were also
destroyed or severely damaged. The fires affected 78 individual townships in total and
displaced an estimated 7,562 people, many of whom sought temporary
accommodation, much of it donated in the form of spare rooms, caravans, tents and
beds in community relief centres. A total of 173 people were confirmed to have died as
a result of the fires and 414 were injured.
Chris Cartwright ­ AS Geography
Column 5 ­ 2nd November 2009

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A fire fighter gives a Koala a drink A car burnt out as a result of the fires
Damage to property from the bushfire
RESPONSE
Responses to the Black Saturday bushfires included immediate community response,
donations and later, international aid efforts, Government inquiries including a Royal
Commission and recommendations and discussions from a wide variety of bodies,
organisations, authorities and communities. Several of these responses are currently
ongoing as of September 2009.…read more

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BIBLIOGRAPHY
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/4557917/A
ustralianbushfiresBlackSaturdayworstblazeincountryshistory.html
http://www.femail.com.au/blackSaturdaybushfires.htm
http://www.theage.com.au/national/numberofmissingstillunknownafterblacksaturday
fires200902258hf0.…read more

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