Land scorched in the Black Saturday fires set to burn again

The land that was decimated by the Black Saturday fires is ready to burn again, experts have warned.

Bushfire risk in the foothills north-east of Melbourne has reached levels last seen before 173 were killed in February 2009, according to Victoria's Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

This is because the dense forests in the region have grown back and dried out during record drought.

This map shows the area north-east of Melbourne that was decimated in 2009

This map shows the area north-east of Melbourne that was decimated in 2009

A bushfire burns in the Bunyip State Forest near the township of Tonimbuk on Saturday 7 February 2009

A bushfire burns in the Bunyip State Forest near the township of Tonimbuk on Saturday 7 February 2009

Former emergency management commissioner Craig Lapsley told The Age: 'It's had good forest growth. And that growth is now dry.'

The towns of Powelltown, Three Bridges and Gilderoy are among those at risk. Officials there are so worried they staged a mock evacuation late last year.

Luke Hegarty, a spokesman for the State Control Centre, said: 'The situation in the last couple of weeks is that things are very dry across the state now.

'That will challenge us because a lot of the areas where we did have some of that remaining moisture is really, really quickly disappearing.'

Victoria has not suffered from drought as badly as other parts of the country - but a lack of rainfall has meant vegetation is dry and ready to burn.   

It comes as a terrifying graphic shows everywhere in Australia that has been affected by bushfires in the past month.

The graphic, made using NASA's satellite data, shows all the fires in the country from 5 December to 5 January.

Not all of them are still burning. 

The image was put together by graphic designer Anthony Hearsey from Brisbane and went viral on social media.

On Monday reserve troops fanned out across fire-ravaged regions in three states as the government pledged $1.4 billion over two years to help recover from the devastating months-long crisis. 

Catastrophic bushfires have turned swathes of land into smouldering, blackened hellscapes and destroyed an area about the size of the island of Ireland, according to official figures.

Authorities warn the disaster still has weeks or months to run - with no significant rain forecast until April.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, whose government has been criticised for its slow response to the emergency, pledged $2 billion of taxpayer money for a national recovery fund.

'It's a long road ahead and we will be with these communities every step of the way as they rebuild,' Morrison said.

Firefighters joined by fresh teams from the US and Canada took advantage of rainy and cooler conditions to tackle out-of-control blazes ahead of rising temperatures forecast later this week.

In the biggest-ever call-up of reserves, military teams were deployed across eastern Australia to help emergency services assess the damage, restore power and deliver supplies of food, water and fuel to cut-off communities.

Ash from Australia's bushfires washes up on a beach in Merimbula, New South Wales state

Ash from Australia's bushfires washes up on a beach in Merimbula, New South Wales state

Bushfires threaten Australia's largest city

Bushfires threaten Australia's largest city

For the first time in Australian history the government also deployed its medical assistance team to help evacuees. The team is normally sent to other nations to lend support in the aftermath of their disasters.

'There is no room for complacency, especially as we have over 130 fires burning across (New South Wales)

read more from dailymail.....

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Follow us on social media networks

PREV Why three giant fires could merge into one 'mega blaze' TODAY on NSW/Victoria ...
NEXT Hawaii crash update: Tour copter hit ridge, then fell