Extreme heat on Friday in Victoria, Australia combined with strong winds and low humidity caused a bushfire 10 km (6 miles) north of Timbarra to grow from 300 hectares (740 acres) to approximately 10,522 hectares (26,000 acres). Lighting ignited the fire on January 16 and in an odd twist, extreme fire behavior Friday created hundreds of lightning strikes around a massive pyrocumulus cloud that rose to 38,000 feet while igniting additional fires.
The temperature at the top of the cloud was -55°C (-67°F) according to the Victoria Bureau of Meteorology.
Large bushfire in #EastGippsland producing a huge plume of smoke this afternoon stretching over eastern Bass Strait. Check out the satellite picture at https://t.co/9md40P2b4k pic.twitter.com/5ceZV5nf0T
— Bureau of Meteorology, Victoria (@BOM_Vic) January 25, 2019
Friday evening the weather changed substantially, bringing in cool, moist air that slowed the spread of the fire. Officials say due to the size and difficult topography, it will be weeks before it can be completely contained.