Devastating fires are ripping through Australia, destroying everything in its path. Despite some rain quelling the flames, it only seems that the fires are going to get worse.
The Australian Bushfires, which started burning as early as September, spared nothing. 28 people have died while over 1500 homes and entire townships were burned to the ground. Mass evacuations have been called, telling people to “get out” as far as they can from the forests. Black smog blankets the whole country and even spreading to New Zealand.
Countless of volunteer firefighters continue to quell the flames and the military is ready to be mobilised across the country. People stranded on a beach and only can be evacuated by boat. The sky coloured by an intimidating fiery orange. These scenes are almost akin to a warzone except it’s not a battle between people but rather a battle against the fiery forces of nature.
More than 12 million hectares of forest have been burned down; the damage is not only limited to the people but also to the animals. Over a billion animals have died as a result of the fires and some species, like the Marsupial and the glossy-black cockatoo, are on the brink of extinction. People are taking dire measure to help the animals, from running into fire and rescuing koalas and kangaroos to airdropping food supplies to them. Homes destroyed, ecosystems disrupted; it is truly a devastating time for both the people and animals.
All It Takes is a Spark: Why are the Bushfires so Bad
Bushfires typically occur all year in Australia and it varies in intensity. However, they are much more intense during the summer months where the weather is much warmer and drier. What makes this season’s bushfires much worse is that Australia is facing a drought that is bringing temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius with little to no rainfall. Strong winds literally fan the flames, causing them to spread at an alarming speed. And of course, climate change plays a huge role in exacerbating these conditions and causing the fires to start earlier than usual.
All it takes is a spark to start it all and sometimes it can occur naturally. Lightning strikes are one of the natural causes to fires. However, a significant number of occurrences are from people. Over 20 people have been arrested so far for deliberately starting the fires. Their motivations for committing such an act varies from malicious intent, mental health issues to revenge.
Global Response From All Walks of Life
The Australian government pledged A$3 billion while over A$25 million have been raised from celebrities, public figures and crowd-funders. Countries like Canada, New Zealand, United States, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Singapore are sending aid in the form of military assistance, firefighting personnel and equipment, supplies and money.
The valiant volunteer firefighters continue to stand their ground and fight the ever-growing blazes, risking their lives in the process. Around four firefighters have died on the line of duty. Two of these fighters leave were fathers of young children.
You too can do your part in helping those in need in the Australia Bushfires. You can donate to these organisations:
New South Wales Rural Fire Service
World Wide Fund for Nature Bushfire Emergency
Be vary of scam fundraisers looking to take advantage of dire times. To be safe, donate to official channels.
Let us know your thoughts about the whole situation! Are there better ways to manage forest fires? Is preventing forest fires entirely the right answer. Leave a comment below.