We have all been horrified by the terrible loss of life in the fires north of Melbourne in the afternoon of 7th February. My purpose in this post is to try and develop an accurate timeline of the day. I note that the Victorian Government will hold a Royal Commission, the terms for which I have not yet seen. I also note the Victorian Premier and others blaming “global warming” for the fires and I suspect that his Govt policy of not sufficiently applying hazard reduction burns in cool seasons will be defended tooth and nail by green proponents.
These green policies also stem from Commonwealth bureaucracies; and it could be that there is a need for a Federal inquiry too.
Note on 2nd March. This section is outdated now and a more complete and higher resolution set of radar images are at. More complete sequence of BoM weather radar images Melbourne bushfires 7th Feb 2009
The Melborne images in the National Radar Mosiac were so incomplete I have removed them.
NASA has a pair of satellites that twice a day view our region and on their excellent Earth Observatory web pages you can view larger images of the fires on the 7th at about 3.50pm, see small image below. From the left, Kilmore-Wandong, Kinglake, then Marysville or Murrindindi Mill as it can be termed. An earlier image that day at about 11.30am detected no fire signatures in our critical zone north of Melbourne. Fires were noted elsewhere in the State and Interstate.
On the 8th the NASA images are very much cloud affected.
However they publish a very interesting false colour image from about 3.35pm on the 9th showing burnt outlines and remnant hotspots. These remote sensed fire signatures show distinctly separate burnt outlines for Kilmore and Kinglake and clearly separate sources for Kinglake and Marysville, see below. Within some of the burnt areas there are some interesting green areas that appear to have been less burnt. More information on these would be welcome.
Finally, NASA has this very interesting map and animation showing monthly intensity of global fires over this decade. Play the animation and see for yourself how the areas covered by our fires are small compared to those in other parts of the world.