It's difficult to calculate the total cost of Australia's "Black Friday" fires, which began on Jan. 13, 1939, and devastated the state of Victoria. Much of the affected area wasn't insured, but the total numbers are staggering -- all told, the fire burned almost 5 million acres of land, destroyed 3,700 buildings, and killed 71 people. As a later investigation into the fires concluded, "On that day, it appeared that the whole State was alight."
PHOTO: 73 years later: Eucalypt regrowth in an area affected by the 1939 fires. The trees make up a single cohort, with little diversity in age or size. The foreground includes part of a coup which has recently been logged and burnt.