Australian Storm Ignites Bushfires

  • Feb 15, 2016

Cloud-to-ground lightning strikes ignited a bushfire in one of Australia’s most important tourist areas in the state of Victoria on 19 December 2015. The fires destroyed more than 216 homes during the holiday season in the Wye River community and Separation Creek, both just only around 75 miles west from Melbourne.

The above video shows the total lightning detected by Earth Networks Total Lightning Network on 19 December. Although most of the lightning strikes were in-cloud (purple) all it took was for one cloud-to-ground strike (yellow) to hit the dry vegetation and begin this fire. High winds also helped spread the blaze.

waterbomber

Photo: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jan/14/victorian-authorities-defend-wye-river-backburn-days-before-116-houses-razed

In the above photo, a water bomber defends homes along the Great Ocean Road in Wye River. Over 500 firefighters and 13 firefighting crafts worked together to end the fire. A failed back burning attempt, however, strengthened the fire and helped it wipe out a third of Wye River.