Definition of red steer in English:

red steer


  • A destructive fire on scrubland or in a forest, especially one that spreads rapidly.

    ‘I checked to see whether my two acacias had survived the red steer’
    • ‘In the last hot days of summer, the red steer came to the bay.’
    • ‘Swagmen are reported to be letting loose the 'red steer' after being refused rations by station owners.’
    • ‘They secured higher rates and better conditions on the cane fields by threatening to let loose the red steer.’
    • ‘The red steer hasn't visited the farms in any serious way since Black Saturday in 1938.’
    • ‘He'd hoped to patent a special extinguisher to end the blight of the red steer for all time.’
    • ‘Fire is the genie of the bush, the red steer jumping the fence and running amok.’
    • ‘These communities have all learned from their confrontation with the red steer.’


1930s: from red + steer, symbolic of the fire as a farm animal that escapes confinement and rampages over land, causing destruction.