The Black Summer forest fires of 2019–2020 in Australia burned more than 24 million hectares (59 million acres), directly causing 33 deaths and almost 450 more from smoke inhalation. Nearly 3 billion animals (mammals, reptiles, birds, and frogs) were killed or displaced.
A study has found:
- The annual area burned by fire across Australia’s forests has been increasing by about 48,000 hectares (119,000 acres) per year over the last three decades. After 5 years, that would be roughly the size of the entire Australian Capital Territory.
- In the past 90 years, there were four megafire years (defined as a year in which more than one million hectares burn). The first was 1939, and the subsequent three all occurred after 2001.
- The fire season is growing, spreading out of spring and summer into autumn and winter.