The Ash Wednesday bushfires were a series of over 100 bushfires that blazed throughout Victoria and South Australia in February 1983. After ten months of severe drought, with temperatures as high as 43°C and winds gusting up to 100 km/hour, a series of fires ignited across South Australia and Victoria's west coast on February 16. The largest bushfires started in Victoria at Cudgee and Branxholme, around Mount Macedon, in the Dandenong Ranges – Cockatoo, Upper Beaconsfield and Belgrave Heights, Monivae, Branxholme, Warburton and in the Otways. Fires also broke out in South Australia, where 159,000 hectares of land in the Adelaide Hills and in farming country in the south east of the state were burnt in the fires. Some entire townships, such as Cockatoo, were completely destroyed. Many fatalities occurred as a result of firestorm; 75 people died, including 17 volunteer fire fighters, and 2,676 people suffered injuries. Over 3,700 buildings were destroyed or damaged and 2,545 individuals and families lost their homes. Over 300,000 livestock died which included 250,000 sheep and other kinds of animals and more than 300,000 hectares of land blackened. The estimated cost was around $324 million dollars. The Ash Wednesday bushfires were the deadliest on record until February 2009, when 173 people perished in the Black Saturday bushfires.