The Chart Gallery 1/8: Understanding the Australian Bushfires

Posted by Maddie Hall on 1/8/20 1:56 PM

In collection, insights, Newsletter, The Chart Gallery

Beginning in September 2019, the recent Australian bushfires have burned over 8.4 million hectares and have already destroyed thousands of homes. Let's visualize this for clarity:

To put it in perspective

When overlaid atop a map of the United States you can see the massive scale of the bushfires.


A blanket of smoke

Fires leave a trail of destruction in its wake, but the smoke alone emitted from the fires is large enough to cover the entirety of Europe.


The outlier

From 2014 to 2019, the Air Quality Index daily maximum average never hit 20, yet this season's bushfires have increased to over 50. For reference, 50 and above on the index is classified as a "moderate" health concern.


Creating its own weather

Bushfires leave more in their wake than ash and smoke. The bushfires can create their own clouds, pyrocumulonimbus, which can lead to lightning strikes which start more fires in the area.


History of Australia's fires

While the current fires in Australia are debilitating, the country/continent has experienced even greater fires  in the past. The most significant Australian fire being the 2009 'Black Saturday' fires in Victoria which led to 2,000+ homes destroyed and 173 deaths.


Tourist season

Another concern about the bushfires is that they have repeatedly occurred at the same time as Australia's tourist season, prompting concerns about future tourist seasons.

Screen Shot 2020-01-07 at 5.16.58 PM

That's all for today's edition of The Chart Gallery.

These charts and more are all available at Grafiti - the search engine for charts, graphs & data!

Email us at with any questions, feedback and especially more charts.
Have a great week!
- Maddie at Grafiti