Since January 1 fires have ravaged more than 8 million hectares (19.8 million acres) of land across Australia — an area nearly the size of Austria — killing 25 people, destroying thousands of building and leaving some towns without electricity and mobile coverage.
More than 135 fires are still burning across the state, including almost 70 that are yet to be contained. Australia’s Rural Fire Service is sending out warnings that rain won’t put out the largest and most dangerous blazes before conditions deteriorate again this week.
Australians know to expect summer wildfires. But the blazes arrived early this year, fed by drought and the countrys hottest and driest year on record.
Scientists say theres no doubt man-made global warming has played a major role in feeding the fires, along with factors like very dry brush and trees and strong winds.
Australia’s capital Canberra had the worst air quality of any major city in the world on Monday morning.