Size of Queensland Bushfires 2019

Grass fire near Gladstone
Aftermath of a grass fire near Gladstone. Photo: G. Bray

Since September, 206,000 hectares of Queensland has been turned to ash.

If you’re anything like me, (a mathematical illiterate), you’ll be struggling to picture just how much of our great, flame grilled, state that is.

So, I whipped out my trusty calculator and did some figuring to help put that figure into perspective for you (so you won’t have to strain your brain):

  1. A football field is roughly 1 hectare.  So, the fires have torched an area the size of 200,000 footy fields.  That’s still a bit hard to wrap a noggin around…
  2. So, try this on for size, Gladstone city, (including Tannum Sands and Boyne Island) sits on 246.1km2 of land, or 24600 hectares.  So, if my calculations are correct (and they probably aren’t, so feel free to double check) an area approximately 8 times the size of our city has gone up in flames in the last three months.
  3. Or, if you’re not a native of Gladstone, then find a map of Queensland, Australia and locate Fraser Island (you can’t miss it, just look for a big, tree covered pile of sand sitting off the coast near Maryborough and Bundaberg.   Here, let me help you with this link).  Fraser Island is 184,000 hectares, so imagine all of it on fire and you’re still short 40,000 hectares, or a land mass the size of North Queensland’s Hinchinbrook Island (again, have a look here).

That’s a lot of country, and sadly, thanks to this long term, blistering drought, there’s a lot more of our great state currently going up in smoke.

Fortunately, things would be far, far more devastating if it wasn’t for the efforts of hundreds of firefighters working around the clock to save life and property.

I can only imagine how much worse things would be if all those fires had been allowed to spread unchecked.


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