Australia fires: The numbers that highlight sheer scale of unfolding catastrophe

Bushfires are an annual problem for Australia, but this season has been unprecedented.  With the death toll now rising daily, millions of hectares left in ashes, and scores of homes left in blackened ruins, the blazes have turned huge swathes of New South Wales and Victoria into disaster zones. 

Queensland, South Australia, and West Australia have also had to tackle scores of devastating fires. 

Some conservative politicians have played down the severity of the crisis, with acting prime minister, Michael McCormack, saying last month that “we’ve had these smoke hazes before. We’ve had bushfires before”.

But the numbers behind the unfolding catastrophe suggest why plenty of experts stress that…

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