Australia’s bushfires are ravaging the country. Here’s how it all happened.


September 2018: Eastern Australia experiences its driest September ever amid a prolonged drought that began in 2017.

caption
Droughts plagued Australia in 2017 and 2018.
source
David Gray/Reuters

Source: Business Insider


September 2019: Australia’s Weather Bureau predicts at least three more months of drought as fires begin to spark.

caption
A view of cracked earth due to drought at a small water reservoir in Armidale in rural Australia on September 24, 2019.
source
Jonathan Barrett/Reuters

Source: Business Insider


September to November 2019: Australia experiences its driest spring on record.

caption
Droughts continued in 2019.
source
Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


October 2019: Australia’s annual bushfire season officially begins. The prolonged drought causes embers from fires to spread, leading to more intense fires in the 2019 season.

Source: Insider


November 8 to 10, 2019: Three people die in fires in Queensland and New South Wales.

caption
Firefighters refill their water from a water tanker in Pacific Drive in the Deepwater National Park area of Queensland on November 28, 2018.
source
ROB GRIFFITH/AFP/Getty Images

Source: CNBC


November 11, 2019: A state of emergency is declared in New South Wales and Queensland.

caption
Queensland and New South Wales are in eastern Australia.
source
Google Maps

Source: Business Insider


November to December 2019: Fires continue to spread.

caption
A satellite photo of Bateman Bay on the southern coast of New South Wales on December 31, 2019.
source
Copernicus EMS

Source: Insider


December 8, 2019: For the first time ever, US firefighters are deployed to Australia.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald


December 18, 2019: Australia experiences its hottest day in history with average temperatures reaching 105.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

caption
Temperatures in southeastern Australia on January 4, 2020.
source
Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Source: Business Insider


December 21, 2019: A bushfire in the East Gippsland region of Victoria begins creating its own weather. The smoke generates clouds that create thunderstorms ultimately leading to more fires.

caption
The clouds are called “pyrocumulonimbus” clouds.
source
Bureau of Meteorology, Victoria

Source: Business Insider, The Sydney Morning Herald


December 28, 2019: Thousands are told to evacuate East Gippsland as the fire danger zone spreads.

caption
Eastern Victoria is deemed unsafe in December 2019.
source
Google Maps

Source: The Guardian


December 30, 2019: Major roads close in East Gippsland, reportedly trapping the residents and visitors who didn’t evacuate earlier.

caption
Thick plumes of smoke rise from bushfires at the coast of East Gippsland, Victoria on January 4, 2020.
source
Australian Maritime Safety Authority/Handout via REUTERS

Source: Insider


December 31, 2019: The fires continue to worsen. The fires have killed a total of at least 16 people.

caption
Smoke billows during bushfires in Bairnsdale, Victoria, Australia, on December 30, 2019.
source
Glen Morey via Reuters

Source: Bloomberg


January 1, 2020: Out of necessity, Australia opens 15 South Coast bushfire evacuation centers.

caption
A cleared-out section of a supermarket near the evacuation shelter that had been set up in the Narooma sports and leisure center.
source
Rosie Perper/Business Insider

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald


January 2, 2020: New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian declares a state of emergency and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews declares a state of disaster.

caption
The sky turns red from bushfires in Bemboka, New South Wales, on January 5, 2020.
source
SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald


January 4, 2020: The Snowy Mountains area is ablaze as the fires continue to spread south. The death toll rises to 23.

caption
The Snowy Mountains area is in New South Wales near the Victoria border.
source
Google Maps

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian


January 6, 2020: Decreasing winds and temperatures in Victoria and New South Wales ease conditions, but fires are expected to continue burning for weeks, according to the Guardian.

caption
A burnt bicycle lies on the ground in front of a house recently destroyed by bushfires near Sydney on December 21, 2019.
source
David Gray/Getty Images

Source: The Guardian