Australia's wildfires have destroyed more than a fifth of the country's forests, making the blazes "globally unprecedented" following a years-long drought linked to climate change, researchers said Monday. In a special edition of the journal Nature Climate Change, Australian researchers examined several other aspects of the blazes, including investigations into their extent and possible causes. One study showed that between September 2019 and January 2020 around 5.8 million hectares of broadleaf forest were burned in New South Wales and Victoria. This accounts for roughly 21 percent of the nation's forested area, making this fire season proportionately the most devastating on record. The study's author said his work almost certainly underestimates the extent of forest loss as the island state of Tasmania was not covered in the data. Australia's annual average forest loss to wild fires is typically well below 2 percent.