Up until 2009's Black Saturday Brushfires in Victoria, the 1939 Black Friday fires were the worst the populous state had ever seen. The burning began on the auspicious Friday the 13th and torched more than 4.9 million acres of land more than four times the area burned in 2009. At least 71 people died and entire towns were destroyed. Like the 2009 fires, the days preceding the 1939 conflagration were marked by record high temperatures and plenty of dryness. Positive changes did result, however: The Forests Act, which made the Forests Commission responsible for forest fire protection on public land, was enacted. And in 1944, the Country Fire Authority was established.