Over 18 Million of hectares burnt down over the last 9 months, causing the death of one billion animals.
Australia is known for being one of the wildest country in the world. With its 7 Million km² of land, it inhabits some of the most unique wildlife on the planet, attracting every year, millions of tourists. Who has never dreamt of seeing a kangaroo in the flesh or observing a koala being as cute as it can be? Australia is without a doubt one the most interesting place in term of fauna and flora all thanks to the bushfires in the country. Indeed, a less know fact is that bushfires are a regular occurrence in Australia, the country being as dry as a bone makes it easy for fires to start, forcing the wildlife to adapt and become so particular.
If bushfires are a daily episode in the life of Australians, why do they have such a hard time controlling this particular one?
- First of all, we need to talk about global warning, a phenomenon known for causing an increase in the temperature of the planet. Since the creation of the steam locomotive,machines emitting greenhouse gases kept appeairng left and right,gases which are known for weakening the ozone layer. This has lead to an abnormal increase in our planet’s heath, scientists have predicted that by the end of the 21st century, we’ll observe an increase of 4.8°C in the worst case scenario. Bushfires may be a daily occurrence, but with the global warming having more and more of an effect on the environment, stopping and controlling these wildfires only gets harder.
- The other reason the 2019-20 bushfire is still on the rampage is because of the lack of concern from the government. Indeed, the Australian government has been accused multiple times of being climate change denialists by the UN, they even got banned from speaking at the UN climate change summit. They denied any relation between the fires and climate change and kept shifting the blame.
- The prime minister Scott Morrison got a lot of criticism for taking a vacation to Hawaii while the fires were still going strong and for his lack of action to stop them. Pictures of him cheerfully wearing a Hawaiian shirt while fire is surrounding him quickly spread across the country. His lack of involvement got shown multiple times throughout his statements, for example, while talking to the locals in Kangaroo Island, he said « Well, thankfully, we’ve had no loss of life » when in reality, 2 firefighters had lost their lives.
- There are also some people who just want to see the world burn, 24 Australians have been arrested since Novemeber, charged for deliberately setting fires all over New South Wales. More or less 100 other people got charged for more minor incidents like throwing their lit cigarettes/matches on the ground.
- The number of animals that have died during these fires has been approximated to 1 billion, this is sadly not a typo.
- 50 threatened animal and plant species lost 80% of their natural inhabitant.
- One third of Kangaroo Island burnt down, a region containing several protected areas, some of the species unique to this island may be facing extinction.
- 30% of the koalas residing in New South Wales, the most touched area, died due to the fires.
- After effects of the fires such as starvation, lack of shelter, and attacks from predators also caused a lot of deaths.
- The numbers of casualities have gone up to 34
- 2100 homes were destroyed
- 1100 firefighters were deployed
- 3 firefighters died after the crash of their plane while they were water bombing a blaze
- 186,000 km² of area burnt down.
- 5,900 buildings destroyed
Because of the lack of concern from the government, donations have been of great help.
Firefighters have had a hard time controlling the bushfires, the lack of equipment and manpower didn’t help either. Hopefully, donations from all over the world greatly improved the situation. $500 million has been donated until now by either celebrities, corporations or just us, the civilians. These donations helped save lives, be it humans, animals or plants, and might just be what australia needed to finally be able to stop the fires.
The situation of the australian bushfires as of today (26/01/20)
The wildfires are still going strong with no sign of stopping for a total of 18 million hectares of burnt area, New South Wales is burning away and its inhabitants are fleeing their home seeking shelter wherever they can find one. Thousands of firefighters are deployed to stop the spread of the fires. Deaths of civilians and firefighters are slowly accumulating. The smoke is also becoming a major threat, making the air toxic and ranking the New South Wales area as the third most air polluted. Sadly, there are no signs of the wildfires stopping anytime soon but as long as we don’t ignore wha’ts happening and keep poiting it to the world, change ought to come.