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No, photo doesn’t show all of Australia in flames

What seems to be a satellite photo of the continent of Australia, covered in fire, was recently posted on Facebook.

“NASA pic of Oz…...scary...!” the caption reads.

Nasa is the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

From July 2019 to January 2020, bushfires devastated regions across Australia.

Every state was affected by the fires. New South Wales was the worst hit, with more than 3,000 homes destroyed.

The fires killed 28 people, including four firefighters. And they burned more than 100,000 square kilometres of bush, forest and national parks.

The photo was widely shared on other platforms, including Twitter and Instagram.

But did the whole of Australia go up in flames at once, as the photo seems to show?

‘This is not a photo’

Using a reverse image search, we discovered that the image was a composite created by Allan Hearsey, a photographer from Brisbane, the capital of Australia’s state of Queensland.

Hearsey explains on his Facebook page that it isn’t a real satellite image.

“This is a 3D visualisation of the fires in Australia. NOT A PHOTO,” he says.

“Think of this as a graph. Also note this was created as an art piece.”

He adds that the graphic is made up of many images of the fires, with special effects added, and the shape of Australia distorted. – Butchie Seroto


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