A satellite image of the bushfires in south-west WA. Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz/NASA,LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response

Bushfires in Western Australia February 2015

  • BY AG Staff |
  • February 09, 2015

Western Australia's bushfires have razed more than 85,000 hectares of the state's south-west

THERE'S NOTHING LIKE a satellite image to show you the big picture.

The bushfires that have been raging for a week in Western Australia's south-west - declared a state natural disaster - have razed more than 85,000ha, but to see the massive plumes of smoke on the image above, taken 4 February, really gives you a sense of the scale.

The southern-most blaze in the image above, near Northcliffe, shows plumes of pyrocumulus cloud ('fire clouds'), as the heat from the smoke pushes the air up quickly, much like a normal cumulus cloud. These fire cloud can sometimes even form into thunderstorms in the right conditions.

These clouds can also release a large amount of pollutants from the fires into the upper atmosphere.

Temperatures in WA have been exceedingly hot and dry, fanning the perfect conditions for the massive fires, which were sparked by a lightning strike. 

One of the fires destroyed the Long Gully Bridge on the Bibbulmun Track. The Bibbulmun Tack Foundation believes four campsites along the classic track have also been burned.