Bushfires are also known as wildfires and are unplanned vegetation fires.
Large areas of Australia are threatened by bushfires due to a generally hot, dry climate prone to drought, particularly in the south-east, where occasional strong winds often associated with seasonal change cold fronts can lead to extreme fire danger.
The fire danger period for the southern and western states of Australia is summer and autumn. In the northern states the fire danger period is winter and spring.
Image: Lake Mountain after the Black Saturday bushfires, Peter Campbell, 2009