The Devastating Bushfires in Australia



Courtesy of CNN, a satellite image of the Australian bushfires in December.

Madison Muse, Co-Editor in Chief

Australia has been the victim of record breaking wildfires, which has caused 27 deaths and the destruction of  an upwards of 2,000 homes so far. The fires have been burning since late July, which is when the continent’s fire season began. Coincidentally, the continent is also experiencing one of its worst droughts in decades, according to CNN. 

Over the past month, they’ve been receiving aid in the form of funds and firefighters from countries such as the United States, Canada and New Zealand. The fires have affected every Australian state, but New South Wales has taken most of the damage. The largest of the fires has been burning for months, and New South Wales still has 100 fires burning. The air quality has also been greatly affected by the flames. Earlier in December, the smoke was so bad in Sydney that air quality measured at 11 times the “hazardous” level,” according to CNN.

Not only have the flames affected humans, but it’s also been detrimental to the animals living in Australia as well. According to a report from CNN, the amount of animals that have died as a result of the fires could be up to a billion.

When looking at the causes of the fires, most signs point to climate change. “Experts say climate change has worsened the scope 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,” according to CNN.

 However, climate change isn’t the only one to blame. After the fires began through lightning, civilians have been contributing by lighting bush fires. So far 24 have been convicted for lighting bushfires in North South Wales. Strong winds have also caused the fires and smoke to spread more rapidly throughout Australia. 

There has been an outcry over climate change in Australia as a result of the fires, and the public has been pleading with the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison. According to CNN, “In response, Morrison emphasized a commitment to reduce carbon emissions — but also said he would stick to “sensible” policies, and that there wasn’t “a single policy, whether it be climate or otherwise,” that can completely protect against the fires.” 

There are many organizations that are accepting donations on behalf of Australia to help with the bushfires. If you would like to donate to help the victims of the fire you can donate to  Australian Red Cross, Salvation Army Australia, the NSW Rural Fire Service, and the St. Vincent de Paul Society Australia. A few other foundations you can donate to support the animals that have fallen victim to the flames are WIRES, the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, and Currumbin Wildlife Hospital.