Hottest day on record (47.9degC/118.2degF) and Australia’s worst bushfire disaster on record.

Written by Gary on February 7th, 2009

Well, thought last week was bad enough when I wrote about our heat wave, but today beats everything for us Victorians.

Melbourne’s previous highest temperature of 45.6degC on the Black Friday Bushfires in 1939 has easily been passed with temperatures in the mid-46deg in the city while only 50km away temperatures have hit an unbelievable 47.9deg C at Avalon airport, all this and winds up to 90kph.

Here is the snapshot of peak temperatures and conditions (click on image for a larger view):

Melbourne's hottest day on record

Spare a thought for those trapped in the bushfires and the fire fighters trying to protect them in this hellish heat.

bushfire updates here

ABC online report Sat pm at least 14 dead in the fires and many more may be found while concerns are had for 100-150 sheltering in a CFA shed in Kinglake

ABC Online report Sunday morning at least 25 dead and expected to find more than 40 dead while townships including Kinglake and Marysville have largely been destroyed with residents trapped for 4-5 hours in the region at the height of the blaze. Elsewhere, 50 homes burnt near Bendigo and 30 near Kilmore and Wandong where the CFA hold serious concerns. Although there were 400 fires across Victoria Saturday, by Sunday morning there were still 36 fires out of control, a dozen of these were major.

ABC Online report Sunday afternoon and the toll rises, at least 700 homes and 66 lives lost with more expected to be found while fires still rage out of control making it perhaps the most tragic bushfire episode in Victoria’s recorded history, eclipsing Ash Wednesday in 1983 when 76 died and Black Friday in 1939 when 71 died.

ABC Online Sunday evening reports 84 have died making it officially Australia’s most fatal bushfire disaster on record.

ABC Online Monday morning reports death toll has reach 108 deaths and homes lost now at 750.

ABC Online Monday afternoon reports death toll now at 131 dead.

ABC Online Tuesday morning reports death toll now at 173 dead with yet more bodies to be found while bushfires still threaten rural communities in central and north-eastern Victoria.

The Herald Sun Wednesday morning reports death toll now at 181 dead and has links to videos. ABC Online reports of further communities at risk as fires still remain out of control.

See my brief history of Victorian bushfires here.

some photos from ABC Online:




live weather conditions and maximum temps can be found here

Finally, no – even though I would love to have taken photos of the fires myself, it is far too dangerous a proposition and such amateur photojournalism during these conditions is highly discouraged. One of the common causes of death in bushfires of the past has been car accidents as drivers attempting to flee, blinded by smoke, crash into debris or other cars. Yesterday, many have been burnt to death in their cars fleeing their homes too late. These fires can cover 1.5km in 5 minutes in those conditions – only fools would be there unnecessarily.


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. casey says:

    can you tell me if lara was affected by these bushfires, i have a friend who lives there but have been unable to make contact, thanks

  2. admin says:

    fortunately Lara was not affected as I understand.

  3. Helene Zukof says:

    I am writing from the States trying to find out if my friends Dr. & Mrs. Bryan Cohen of Mt. Macedon are all right. My prayers are with all of you there.

  4. admin says:

    Mt Macedon not affected so they should be OK.

  5. TWILIGHT says:

    Wow! can you believe its been over a year since this diaster happend ! 🙁

  6. Great piece of data that you’ve received on this web site submit. Hope I might get some additional of the stuff on your own website. I will occur again.