The Victorian Great Divide Fires of 2006-07

"In the early afternoon and evening of Friday 1 December 2006, a band of severe thunderstorms slowly moved across the Great Dividing Range starting fire upon fire in the area bounded by Benalla, Mount Beauty, Dargo and Erica. This event was what we feared as seasonal conditions were extreme. It was the second driest August to October period in Victoria since 1900, the highest recorded maximum temperatures for August to November, and followed a decade of generally below average rainfall. The forest was highly flammable and the thunderstorms that afternoon started 69 fires in some of Victoria’s most difficult and remote country."

"Despite aggressive and persistent attack on many of these fires, many could not be controlled during the first few days because the bush was so dry, and over the next 9 weeks these fires increased in size and ultimately coalesced with other major fires to become one of the largest bushfires occurring in Victoria over the last 50 years. Within about three weeks, the fires had burnt around 800,000 hectares (ha) of mainly forested land, and had already resulted in significant loss of property, livestock and timber resources. These intense bushfires did immense damage to the bush, stripping the crowns out of the trees and burning all organic matter in the soil. Only the Alpine Fire event of 2002/03 rivals the area burnt in this event."

Source: The Victorian Great Divide Fires 2006-07. DSE. 2007

Apart from the source document linked above, which is an extraordinarily comprehensive account of this major fire event, there are four Google Slide presentations available below that will provide pictures of how the fire event unfolded. The presentation will run automatically on a 10 second delay between frames, but you can use the controls at bottom right to view as you wish.