Australia On Fire

NY Times

NY Times

Jessica Woldt, Staff Reporter

It’s all over the internet, there’s videos of koalas clinging to their life. Thousand of animals are dying. The fire season began in late July and Australia is being destroyed by the worst wildfires seen in decades. Nationwide, 28 people have died. In New South Wales alone, more than 2000 homes have been destroyed or damaged. 

For months, the fire has been burning, consuming nearly 18 million acres of land, killing potentially millions of animals and causing thousands to evacuate. There’s also no signs that show it’s going to get better. New South Wales, where both Sydney and Australia’s capital Canberra are located, declared a state of emergency this week, as worsening weather conditions could lead to even greater fire danger. 

The state and federal authorities  are struggling to stop the massive fires, even with firefighting assistance from other countries, including the United States. A lot of people have the theory that climate change has made this natural disaster go from bad to worse.

There have been fires in every Australian state, but New South Wales has seen the worst fires. The fires range in area from small blazes, isolated buildings or part of a neighborhood to massive wildfires that occupy entire hectares of land. Some start and are contained in a matter of days, but the biggest blazes have been burning for months. In NSW alone, more than 100 fires are still burning. 

Now let’s look at the situation more closely. First of all, you probably ask yourself what is causing the fires. Mostly it’s natural causes and the fires occur every year in fire season during the Australian summer. Although humans can also be the blame, NSW police have charged at least 24 people with starting bushfires, and have taken legal action against 183 people for fire-related offenses since November, according to a police statement. 

The reason why the fires got so bad this year is that the last spring was the driest it has been in a long time. Meanwhile, a heatwave in December broke the record for highest nationwide average temperature, over 120 degrees Fahrenheit.  Strong winds also made the fire and smoke spread faster. Experts say that climate change has worsened the reach and impact of natural disasters like fires and floods. Weather conditions are growing more extreme, and for years, the fires have been starting earlier in the season and spreading with greater intensity. 

There are many videos circulating on the internet showing the animals that are hurt or dying from the fires. A half a billion of animals have been affected by the fire, millions are probably dead. Almost a third of koalas in New South Wales have been killed, and a third of their habitat has been destroyed.

Unfortunately, Australia is only about halfway through its summer season. Normally, temperatures climax in January and February, meaning the country could be months away from finding relief. One way you can help with this disaster is by donating money to a reputable organization. Every cent helps!