2019–20 Australian bushfire season

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2019–20 Australian bushfire season
Date(s)August 2019 – Ongoing[timeframe?]
Burned areaNew South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia
CauseArson, lightning strikes, machinery
Buildings destroyed> 2,180

Fires by state or territory[edit]

New South Wales[edit]

On 6 September, the northern parts of the state experienced extreme fire dangers. Fires included the Long Gully Road Fire near Drake which burnt until the end of October killing two people and destroying 43 homes,[1] Mount McKenzie Road Fire that burnt across the southern outskirts of Tenterfield which severely injured one person, destroyed one home and badly damaged four homes, and the Bees Nest Fire near Ebor which burnt until 12 November that destroyed seven homes.[2]

In the Hillville fire, which began on 8 November, numerous homes and businesses were destroyed as the fire tore through communities such as Wallabi Point, Old Bar, Rainbow Flat and Hillville. Nabiac and Possum Brush were also threatened, but the NSW Rural Fire Service were able to contain the blaze. It has currently burnt 31,268 ha (77,260 acres) of land.[3][4][better source needed]

A large fire at Gospers Mountain in the Wollemi National Park has burnt over 257,132 ha (635,390 acres) and threatened homes in the Hawkesbury and Lithgow areas. The fire projected to burn towards the Central Coast and potentially threaten properties in Wisemans Ferry and other townships.[5]

On 12 November catastrophic fire danger was declared in the Greater Sydney region for the first time since the introduction of this level. The Illawarra and Greater Hunter areas also experienced catastrophic fire dangers and other parts of the state including the already fire ravaged parts of northern NSW experienced extreme fire dangers.[6]

Reinforcements from all over Australia where called in to assist fight the fires and relieve exhausted local crews. On 11 November it was reported that the CFA was sending in a large contingent of up to 300 firefighters and support staff from Victoria.[7] More than 100 firefighters had been sent from Western Australia as of 14 November.[8] Contingents where also sent from South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.[8][7] On 12 November the Federal government announced that the defence force was providing air support to the firefighting effort and was preparing to provide manpower and logistical support.[5]

At the Rumba Dump fire just outside the outskirts of Taree and Wingham, the fire tore through the small village of Bobin; numerous homes and the Bobin Public School were destroyed in the fire.[9] The New South Wales Rural Fire Service sent out alerts to people in Killabakh, Upper Lansdowne, Kippaxs, Elands, and Marlee to monitor conditions.

Six people have been killed since October, the latest fatality was reported after the body of a 58 year old man was found in burnt out bushland in Willawarrin outside of Kempsey on 13 November.[10][11][12]

As of 7 December, 2,000,000 ha (4,900,000 acres) has been burnt or is burning in New South Wales,[13] and a total fire ban was in place for seven regions, including Greater Sydney. Since the start of the season the ongoing bushfires have destroyed 684 homes as well as 48 facilities and more than 2000 outbuildings in New South Wales. Almost 250 homes have been damaged.[14][15][16][17][18]

In the Greater Western Sydney region, the Green Wattle Creek fire spotted over Lake Burragorang, threatening many homes around Oakdale and Nattai.[19] Three firefighters received minor burns while fighting the blaze.[20]

A blaze on the NSW South Coast started off at Currowan and travelled up to the coastline after jumping across the Pacific Highway, threatening properties around Termeil. Residents in Bawley Point, Kioloa, Depot Peach, Pebbly Beach, North Durras and Pretty Beach were told to either evacuate to Batemans Bay or Ulladulla or stay to protect their property. One home was lost in the blaze.

In December, The Gospers Mountain Blaze flared up once again to Emergency Warning threatening more properties around Colo Heights and surrounding towns.


In Queensland nearly 50 fires are burning with crews focused on three major fires, at Cobraball south-west of Yeppoon, Cooroibah on the Sunshine Coast, and Thornton in the Lockyer Valley.[21]

Three houses were lost at the Cobraball fire, which also burned through 11,000 ha (27,000 acres) of land, and has a 30 km (19 mi) long front.[citation needed]

Near the small community of Pechey, a helicopter crashed while fighting the blazes threatening the town. While the Bell 214 helicopter was completely destroyed, the pilot walked away with minor injuries.[22]

South Australia[edit]

On 11 November, the ABC reported that an emergency bushfire warning was issued for people in Port Lincoln in the Lower Eyre Peninsula with an uncontrolled fire travelling towards the township.

The South Australian Country Fire Service ordered eight water bombers to the area to assist 26 grounds crews at the scene.

SA Power Networks has disconnected power to some parts of the township.[23]


In late October four bushfires were burning near Scamander, Elderslie and Lachlan.[24][25]


On 9 December two bushfires broke out in the East Gippsland area, endangering the communities of Buchan, Buchan South and Sunny Point.[26]

Western Australia[edit]

On 13 November two bushfires were burning in Geraldton, damaging homes, sheds and fences.[27][28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Update on Northern NSW bush fires". www.rfs.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 2019-11-19.
  2. ^ "Property losses from recent NSW bush fires". www.rfs.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 2019-11-19.
  3. ^ "Major Fire Updates". NSW Rural Fire Service.
  4. ^ "Fires Near Me". www.rfs.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 2019-12-07.
  5. ^ a b "Major Fire Update Details". www.rfs.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 2019-11-17.
  6. ^ McNab, Jodie Stephens and Heather (2019-11-10). "Catastrophic fire danger forecast for NSW". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 2019-11-17.
  7. ^ a b "CFA sends over 300 personnel to NSW bushfires". CFA News and Media. 2019-11-11. Retrieved 2019-11-17.
  8. ^ a b "Media statement - WA firefighters providing much-needed relief for NSW and QLD". www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au. Retrieved 2019-11-17.
  9. ^ Pengilley, Victoria; Hair, Jonathan (2019-11-10). "'Get out': The town where the fire was so bad water bombers 'just gave up'". ABC News. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  10. ^ Press, Australian Associated (2019-10-10). "Elderly couple's remains found inside home after northern NSW bushfires". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  11. ^ Nguyen, Kevin (2019-11-14). "NSW bushfire death toll rises to four". ABC News. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  12. ^ "Out-of-control fires claim three lives, destroy more than 150 homes in NSW". ABC News. November 9, 2019.
  13. ^ Evershed, Nick; Ball, Andy; Evershed, Nick; Ball, Andy. "How big are the fires burning on the east coast of Australia? Interactive map". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-12-07.
  14. ^ Evershed, Nick; Ball, Andy; Evershed, Nick; Ball, Andy. "How big are the fires burning on the east coast of Australia? Interactive map". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-12-07.
  15. ^ Keoghan, Sarah (2019-11-14). "Man charged after allegedly starting fire with fireworks". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  16. ^ Mayers, Lily (2019-11-15). "Bushfires have destroyed more than 250 homes in NSW this week, the RFS says". ABC News. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  17. ^ "We've seen dangerous fire conditions this season. Building Impact Assessment teams are continuing to assess fire affected areas. Over the past month 684 homes have been destroyed and more than 9,800 buildings have been saved. #nswrfs #nswfirespic.twitter.com/fOiFzNJIhC". Twitter. New South Wales Rural Fire Service. 2019-12-05. Retrieved 2019-12-06.
  18. ^ "'Too big to put out': Bushfires closing in on 'major population centres' in NSW". ABC News. 2019-12-06. Retrieved 2019-12-07.
  19. ^ Stewart, Selby (2019-12-05). "Firefighters injured, homes at risk as bushfires rage across NSW". ABC News. Retrieved 2019-12-06.
  20. ^ McGookin, Daniel; McSweeney, Jessica; Crittenden, Madeline; McCallum, Jake (2019-12-05). "Homes lost, fireys injured as bushfires rage across NSW". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2019-12-06.
  21. ^ "Volatile bushfire flares up on Sunshine Coast, state of fire emergency declared". ABC News. November 9, 2019.
  22. ^ "Waterbombing aircraft crash-lands fighting bushfires in Queensland". The Courier Mail. 2019-11-13. Retrieved 2019-11-14.
  23. ^ "Emergency warning issued for uncontrolled bushfire travelling towards Port Lincoln". ABC News. 2019-11-11. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  24. ^ "Tasmania Now: Watch and act fire alerts for two blazes north of Hobart". ABC News. 2019-10-29. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  25. ^ Cooper, Erin (2019-11-02). "Longer fire season stretches volunteers, with calls for compensation". ABC News. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  26. ^ "Residents told to leave now as twin East Gippsland bushfires bear down". The Age. 2019-12-09. Retrieved 2019-12-09.
  27. ^ "Two homes feared destroyed". PerthNow. 2019-11-13. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  28. ^ "Bushfire 'perfect storm' as twin blazes hit WA port city of Geraldton". ABC News. 2019-11-13. Retrieved 2019-11-15.