Australia fires: Misleading maps and pictures go viral – BBC News


Maps and pictures of Australia’s unprecedented bushfires have spread widely on social media. Users are posting them to raise awareness of the devastating fires, but some of the viral maps are misleading, spreading disinformation about the crisis.
One image shared widely by Twitter users, including by singer Rihanna, was interpreted as a map showing the live extent of fire spread, with large sections of the Australian coastline molten-red and fiery. But it is actually artist Anthony Hearsey’s visualisation of one month of data of locations where fire was detected, collected by Nasa’s Fire Information for Resource Management System.

Australia is fighting one of its worst bushfire seasons, fuelled by record-breaking temperatures and months of severe drought.

Since September, at least 25 people have died and thousands have been made homeless.

More than 6.3 million hectares (63,000 sq km or 15.6 million acres) have been burned so far – one hectare is roughly the size of a sports field.

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