WeatherWeather Science


Australian wildfires scorch the equivalent of more than 23% of Colorado's land

Colorado - Australia wildfire perspective
Map of active Australian wildfires
Australia wildfires compared to 2018 U.S. fire season
Posted at 4:12 PM, Jan 06, 2020

In Australia, hot, dry and windy weather has led to more than 130 wildfires, many of which are still burning.

Fires burning across the continent are taking lives and killing animals by the hundreds of millions.

Away from the flames, millions of residents are being affected by smoke and fire pollutants circulating in the air.

This map shows where wildfires are burning across Australia. There's a large concentration over the eastern third of the continent, nearby such city centers as Sydney and Melbourne.

Map of active Australian wildfires
Map of wildfires currently burning in Australia (2019-20)

Putting things into perspective, more than 15 million acres have burned. The amount of land destroyed by wildfires in Australia equates to all of our News 5 viewing area plus Park County and Prowers County, or about 23% of the state of Colorado.

Colorado - Australia wildfire perspective
Comparing wildfire acreage lost in Australia to Southern Colorado

This graphic compares the current situation in Australia to the 2018 wildfire season, a significant one across the western United States. In 2018, wildfires scorched about 1.8 million acres in California, and nearly 500,000 acres in Colorado.

Australia wildfires compared to 2018 U.S. fire season
Current Australia wildfire disaster compared to active 2018 U.S. fire season

For the first time since 2010, the federal government is sending firefighters from the U.S. to help combat the fires in Australia. Around 150 firefighters will be there to assist, and this number could increases as the need grows.