Australia is a fire continent: it is built to burn. To this general combustibility its southeast corner adds a pattern of seasonal winds, associated with cold fronts, that draft scorching, unstable air from the interior across whatever flame lies on the land. At such times the region becomes a colossal channel that fans flames which, for scale and savagery, have no equal on earth.

Yet even by Australia’s standards, Saturday’s fires were a horror … for those of us who have long admired Australia’s resolve in the face of conflagrations and regarded it as a world leader for the calibre of its fire sciences and bushfire brigades, the recent spectacle arouses dismay.

Read more at The Australian.

Peter Fray

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