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Through the summer of 2002/03, much of Australia was ravaged by a worse than usual bushfire season.
Fire is part of this country's normal weather pattern; many of our native plants germinate only after fire. The aboriginal people understood this and worked with it, apparently with success. We late-comers have not coped well, either cutting down everything in sight or leaving the bush strictly alone.
A long and severe drought left dry undergrowth and deadfall in abundance. When electrical storms hit—without rain—raging fire was the natural consequence.
Photos by Frits and Paula
Go down to thumbnails.
Helicopters and light aircraft were invaluable in the desperate struggle to keep homes and farmlands undamaged. Water bombing and reconnaissance were sometimes impossible because of thick smoke, though.
The usually clear sky over the districts surrounding Hobart was dense and grey. In Victoria, smoke lay in the air hundreds of kilometres from the burning areas.
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