Wildfires burned a fifth of Australia’s forests: study

By / Patrick Galey

Australia’s wildfires have destroyed more than a fifth of the country’s forests, making the blazes “globally unprecedented” following a years-long drought linked to climate change, researchers said Monday.

Climate scientists are currently examining data from the disaster, which destroyed swathes of southeastern Australia, to determine to what extent they can be attributed to rising temperatures.

In a special edition of the journal Nature Climate Change, Australian researchers examined several other aspects of the blazes, including investigations into their extent and possible causes.

One study showed that between September 2019 and January 2020 around 5.8 million hectares of broadleaf forest were burned in New South Wales and Victoria.

This accounts for roughly 21 percent of the nation’s forested area, making this fire season proportionately the most devastating on record.

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