In the last few weeks forest fires have spread across the Australian states of Victoria and South Australia. The devastation has been horrific and the death toll has surpassed 100 and represents the worse killing spree in Australian history. Bush fires in Australian can move incredibly fast due to wind but also to the oil in the prevalent eucalyptus trees. These 'gum' trees will literally explode when the temperature reaches a certain point and thus travel from tree top to tree top at a tremendous rate.
Another aspect has been the continual dry weather and high temperatures. When I lived in Melbourne in the mid 1970s we had top days but the temperature rare got above 95. Yesterday the temperature in Melbourne was 117. North of Melbourne the town of Marysville has been wiped off the map with every house and business torched. ABC Television. TheAge Video
We have family and friends down there and my friend Richard noted some of his staff have lost family in the fires. A very sad situation.