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How big are the fires burning in Australia’s north? Interactive map shows they’ve burned an area larger than Spain | Bushfires


Huge bushfires have burned a significant amount of northern Australia in recent months, with the collective area burned larger than many countries, including Spain.

Experts say the massive fires are primarily due to a higher-than-average fuel load built up over the recent wet La Niña years, with an invasive grass species also contributing to more intense burns.

According to estimates of fire area based on satellite hotspot detection, more than 610,000 sq km have burned in 2023 across northern Australia. This is an area larger than many countries, such as Spain, Thailand and Cameroon.

Fire is common in the northern regions of Australia, particularly the tropical savanna areas of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland where regular burns are an integral part of the ecology.

Here, you can see the extent of fires animated from the start of September, based on Nasa hotspot data. That is followed by the total burned area for fires for all of 2023, based on North Australia and Rangelands Fire Information (Nafi) data:

Bushfires in northern Australia from 1 September to 6 November

Showing the spread of fires based on Nasa hotspot data. Fire areas based on hotspot data is not entirely accurate as hotspot detection can be affected by smoke and cloud cover

In the Northern Territory, some 310,000 sq km have burned up to the…

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