web Bushfires Black Friday Gippsland
web Bushfires Black Friday Gippsland

How bushfire crisis compares to Black Saturday

THE bushfires sweeping through East Gippsland and northeastern Victoria have tragically claimed the lives of three people and countless animals, destroyed homes, properties and businesses and thrown communities into chaos.

The 2019/2020 Victorian bushfires are said to be the worst since the Black Saturday fires on February 7, 2009, when 173 people were killed in one of our worst natural disasters.

While the current bushfire emergency is far from over, here's how the two events compare so far.

 

FIRE IMPACTED TOWNS

Black Saturday

• Delburn

• Mirboo North

• Boolara

• Yinnar

• Churchill

• Labertouche

• Jindivick

• Jindivick West

• Jindivick North

• Drouin West.

• Longwarry North.

• Robin Hood

• Bunyip

What was left of Brownlow medallist Kevin Murray’s Flowerdale home.
What was left of Brownlow medallist Kevin Murray’s Flowerdale home.

• Kilmore East

• Wandong

• Wallaby Creek

• Humevale

• Strathewen

• St Andrews

• Steels Creek

• Dixons Creek

• Yarra Glen.

• Healesville.

• Kinglake

• Kinglake West

The remains of a house near Kinglake West. Picture: Stuart McEvoy.
The remains of a house near Kinglake West. Picture: Stuart McEvoy.

• Clonbinane

• Chum Creek

• Flowerdale

• Hazeldene

• Castella

• Glenburn.

• Horsham (Vectis and Haven)

• Coleraine

• Pomborneit - Weerite

Bushfires at Taggerty, near Marysville, on weekend of 7 and 8 February, 2009. Picture: Supplied/Stephen Henderson.
Bushfires at Taggerty, near Marysville, on weekend of 7 and 8 February, 2009. Picture: Supplied/Stephen Henderson.

• Jeeralang North

• Balook

• Le Roy

• Koornalla

• Callignee

• Callignee North.

• Callignee South.

• Hazelwood South

• Hazelwood North

• Traralgon South

• Devon

• Yarram

• Carrajung South

• Murrindindi

• Narbethong

• Marysville

• Buxton

• Taggerty

• Greater Bendigo.

• Mount Alexander

• Macedon Ranges.

• Mitchell

• Redesdale

• Narre Warren (Harkaway, Lynbrook - Coral Drive and Golf Club Road)

• Upper Ferntree Gully

Fire fighters battle bushfires burning at the Bunyip State Forest near the township of Tonimbuk on Saturday, February 7, 2009. Picture: AAP Image/Andrew Brownbill.
Fire fighters battle bushfires burning at the Bunyip State Forest near the township of Tonimbuk on Saturday, February 7, 2009. Picture: AAP Image/Andrew Brownbill.

• Bendigo (Maiden Gully)

• Beechworth - Mudgegonga.

• Baarmutha

• Bruarong

• Rosewhite

• Kancoona South

• Kancoona

 

TOTAL: 67

Crews monitor fires and begin back burns between the towns of Orbost and Lakes Entrance in East Gippsland during the current fire crisis. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images.
Crews monitor fires and begin back burns between the towns of Orbost and Lakes Entrance in East Gippsland during the current fire crisis. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images.

 

East Gippsland + northeast

• Corryong

• Sarsfield

• Buchan

• Mallacoota

• Orbost

• Nowa Nowa

• Cudgewa

• Wairewa

• Goongerah

• Marlo

• Cabbage Treek Creek

• Bindi

An emergency services vehicle outside of Bruthen in East Gippsland as fires approach. Picture: David Crosling
An emergency services vehicle outside of Bruthen in East Gippsland as fires approach. Picture: David Crosling

• South Bentley Plains

• Brookville

• Anglers Rest

• Dinner Plain

• Omeo

• Falls Creek

• Bluff Creek

• Gelantipy

• Cann Valley

• Bemm River and Cann River

• Swifts Creek

• Tambi Crossing

TOTAL SO FAR: 24

Labertouche bushfires on Black Saturday. Picture: Alex Coppel
Labertouche bushfires on Black Saturday. Picture: Alex Coppel

LOSS OF LIFE

Black Saturday

- 173 people, with five fires responsible for the deaths: Kilmore East (119), Murrindindi (40), Churchill (11), Beechworth-Mudgegonga (2), Bendigo (2).

 

East Gippsland

- Three people confirmed dead.

A koala with CFA volunteer David Tree during the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009.
A koala with CFA volunteer David Tree during the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009.

ANIMAL, WILDLIFE DEATHS

Black Saturday

- More than one million wild and domesticated animals were lost in the Black Saturday fires.

East Gippsland

- Close to half a billion animals have been killed in the NSW fires and a similar toll is expected in Victoria.

-Tens of thousands of animals have been injured or displaced.

 

FIRES ATTENDED

Black Saturday

- 316 grass, scrub and forest fires responded to by CFA and DSE.

- Royal Commission found 15 fires had the potential to cause the greatest damage, with nine caused by direct or indirect human activity, five associated with failure of electrical assets and four thought to be suspicious.

 

East Gippsland

- Total number of fires attended yet to be confirmed, but 23 fires remained active as of Thursday 9 January.

Property damaged by the East Gippsland fires in Sarsfield. Picture: AAP Image/News Corp Pool, Jason Edwards.
Property damaged by the East Gippsland fires in Sarsfield. Picture: AAP Image/News Corp Pool, Jason Edwards.

HOMES DESTROYED

Black Saturday

- 2133 homes destroyed as a result of the January-February 2009 bushfires in Victoria.

- 61 businesses destroyed.

 

East Gippsland

- 450 buildings, 250 residential properties and 243 outbuildings razed. The number is likely to rise when the extent of damage at currently isolated fire areas is known.

The Marysville cricket club rooms after the Black Saturday fires. Picture: Kelly Barnes
The Marysville cricket club rooms after the Black Saturday fires. Picture: Kelly Barnes

COST OF FIRES ON COMMUNITY

Black Saturday

- Royal Commission into the Black Saturday Fires estimates $4 billion, but said it was hard to determine an exact figure.

 

East Gippsland

- Unknown figure on the cost on the community.

 

LAND BURNED

Black Saturday

430,000 hectares of land were directly affected by fire.

Black Saturday Fire map. Source: Royal Commission into Black Saturday Bushfires Summary.
Black Saturday Fire map. Source: Royal Commission into Black Saturday Bushfires Summary.

East Gippsland

More than 1.2M hectares of land burned to date.

 

Victoria bushfire map 650 x 800
Victoria bushfire map 650 x 800

RESPONSE

Black Saturday

- CFA volunteers and their families were a large part of the Black Saturday fire response efforts, with many crews on standby. This was recognised in the Royal Commission.

 

HMAS Choules MRH-90 Maritime Support Helicopter is seen on the Mallacoota airfield. Picture: AAP Image/Supplied by the Department of Defence.
HMAS Choules MRH-90 Maritime Support Helicopter is seen on the Mallacoota airfield. Picture: AAP Image/Supplied by the Department of Defence.

East Gippsland

- The Australian Defence Force formed part of the rescue efforts and removed trapped East Gippsland residents from Mallacoota via navy ship and helicopter.

- 1000 people taken by navy ship and 400 were rescued by military helicopter.

An image from NASA of the Churchill fire during Black Saturday in 2009. Picture: NASA/AP.
An image from NASA of the Churchill fire during Black Saturday in 2009. Picture: NASA/AP.

WEATHER CONDITIONS

Black Saturday

- Prior to Black Saturday, Melbourne's forecast temperature exceeded 43C degrees for three consecutive days for the first time since records were kept.

- Bushfire agencies, the CFA and Department of Sustainability and Environment had said the forests and grasslands were the driest they had been since the Ash Wednesday Fires in 1983.

- Melbourne reached a maximum of 46.4C on February 7, 2009.

Smoke is heavy and visibility low down the main street of Orbost in fire ravaged East Gippsland. Picture: Mark Stewart
Smoke is heavy and visibility low down the main street of Orbost in fire ravaged East Gippsland. Picture: Mark Stewart

MORE NEWS:

OUR BUSHFIRE COVERAGE

PHOTOS FROM THE BUSHFIRES

AFL STARS BACK BUSHFIRE ORIGIN GAME

 

East Gippsland

- Extreme weather was recorded on November 21, 2019, with Lakes Entrance recorded 41.6C. On this day the initial East Gippsland fire began.

- The maximum temperature recorded on Monday 30 December, 2019, in Lakes Entrance was 42.4C and Orbost 43.1C, with Melbourne reaching 40.8C.

- Smoke from bushfires in East Gippsland and the northeast of the state caused air pollution in Melbourne on Monday January 6, 2020.

 

Read more about the impact of the Black Saturday bushfires here.

 

Sources: BoM, 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission Final Report Summary, Forest Fire Management Victoria.

 

kara.irving@news.com.au

@kara_irving

A victim of the East Gippsland fires, Guzzle the male koala, suffered burns to his nose face and paws and drinks water through a syringe by wildlife carer Maryann Buchanan. Picture: David Caird
A victim of the East Gippsland fires, Guzzle the male koala, suffered burns to his nose face and paws and drinks water through a syringe by wildlife carer Maryann Buchanan. Picture: David Caird
Property damaged by the East Gippsland fires in Sarsfield. Picture: AAP Image/News Corp Pool, Jason Edwards.
Property damaged by the East Gippsland fires in Sarsfield. Picture: AAP Image/News Corp Pool, Jason Edwards.
The township of Marysville was nearly completely burnt out in 2009.
The township of Marysville was nearly completely burnt out in 2009.
CFA volunteers board one of HMAS Choules Landing craft as they depart Mallacoota.
CFA volunteers board one of HMAS Choules Landing craft as they depart Mallacoota.


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