On February 7, 2009, the Australian state of Victoria experienced as many as 400 individual bushfires. These wildfires scorched more than 4,500 square kilometers (1,737 square miles) of land, destroyed 2,029 homes, and killed 173 people. Recovery cost more than a billion dollars. The so-called “Black Saturday Bushfires” are often called the worst natural disaster in Australia’s history.Bushfires are a common threat in Australia’s arid summer climate. Victoria had been enduring an unusual heat wave, with temperatures as high as 48 degrees Celsius (115 degrees Fahrenheit) and almost no rain. In addition, winds were recorded at more than 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour). The government imposed a total fire ban across the state.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry arid Adjective
crime of intentionally setting an illegal fire.
all weather conditions for a given location over a period of time.
Encyclopedic Entry: climate extinguish Verb
to put an end to or completely do away with.
system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.
heat wave Noun
period of unusually hot weather.
sudden electrical discharge from clouds.
Encyclopedic Entry: lightning natural disaster Noun
an event occurring naturally that has large-scale effects on the environment and people, such as a volcano, earthquake, or hurricane.
power line Noun
cable or cord used to transfer electricity from a power plant to a population center. Also called a transmission line.
uncontrolled fire that happens in a rural or sparsely populated area.