The country is facing an unprecedented crisis as wildfires engulf rural communities across Australia,media CNET reported. At least 17 people have been killed and more than 1500 homes destroyed in Australian wildfires since September last year. At least 28 people have been confirmed missing after a wildfire destroyed a busy tourist hub in eastern Victoria at the start of the new year. The scale of the threat is huge, the firecontinues and authorities are urging people to evacuate their homes as the country prepares for another weekend of catastrophic danger.
Australians in crisis are turning to social media for help. The whole town was razed to the ground, and the fires meandered through the jungle, roads and mountains. In the country’s two most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria, people are trying to escape fires that have caused congestion on highways. Smoke billowed over busy metropolises such as Sydney and Melbourne. Air quality measurements recorded in some parts of the country are 20 times higher than dangerous levels.
At present, the australian mountain fire situation is still serious. CNET provides an understanding of the ongoing fires and the many ways they can help.
What was the cause of the fire?
This is a complex issue. Australia is a country familiar with the management of wildfires, wildfires and the importance of fires in land regeneration. Indigenous people who have lived on this land for tens of thousands of years have long known the importance of fire management and its contribution to the health of the ecosystem. Mountain fires are an easy-to-understand threat, but the ferocity and scale of the fires currently burning across Australia have been described as “unprecedented.”
Fires can occur in a variety of ways – from carelessly discarded cigarettes to lightning strikes and arson – but a host of worrying risk factors contribute to them. Lack of rain and low soil moisture have helped to increase the size of the small fires, which, combined with the high temperatures and high winds Australia has experienced in recent months, have turned into huge “hell-grade” wildfires. In addition, with the extension of the fire season, the likelihood of reducing serious harm increases.
What does this have to do with climate change?
Wildfires do not originate from climate change, but the effects of global warming have exacerbated them. The Climate Council, an independent climate group funded by the community, recommended that wildfires are now more dangerous than in the past, with longer wildfire seasons, drought, drier fuel and soil and record heat. The link between wildfires and climate change has become a political battle, but experts agree that climate change can explain the unprecedented nature of the current crisis.
It’s worth noting that, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, Australia had its hottest year on record in 2019, 1.5C above average. Rising temperatures increase the risk of wildfires, with Sydney at risk of a catastrophic fire for the first time in its history in November.
When large tracts of land burn, there is also a frightening feedback loop. Wildfires release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This gas accounts for only a small part of the total gas in the atmosphere and is excellent in terms of heat dissipation. In just three months, Australia’s fires have released an estimated 350 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. Experts warn that it will take a century or more to absorb the carbon dioxide released.
What areas are affected?
Wildfires occur in every state in Australia, but New South Wales and Victoria are the worst. The Gospers Hill fire in New South Wales has destroyed more than half a million hectares of woodland. The total area destroyed by the wildfires was rapidly approaching 6 million hectares. That’s almost seven times the amount of burned in the Amazon rainforest fire in 2019.
Guardian Australia provides an interactive map so Australians can learn about the extreme scale of the fire and the entire fire.
The smoke from the raging fire has spread across the ocean, even to the Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand. On January 1, caramel brown appeared on the snow-capped mountain top of the Franz Josef Glacier. The distance between the glacier and the mountain fire front is about the same as the distance from Boston to Miami.
A November 2019 error report found that Australia’s koalas were functionally extinct due to wildfires between New South Wales and Queensland. Experts don’t think this is true, but uncontrolled fires have directly contributed to the threat to the species and many other native Australian animals.
Ecologists at the University of Sydney estimate that as many as 480 million animals, including as many as 8,000 koalas, may have died in the fire. Australian Environment Minister Sussan Ley told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the true extent of the death would not be fully known until the fire had stopped burning and “appropriate assessment can be made.”
Social media was flooded with harrowing images showing people crowded on the beach and orange dusty skies blocking the horizon.
On December 31, a staff member from the NSW Fire and Rescue Station 509 was trapped inside their fire truck south of The Nora when the fire approached the vehicle. Footage of the incident quickly spread on the internet.
People from the eastern Victorian town of Mallacoota have posted a large number of photos, which usually attract tourists over the Christmas period. On December 31st, about 4,000 people were forced to go down the lake to avoid wildfires.
On 3 January, Mar-a-Lago residents and tourists were evacuated by two naval vessels.
Incredible footage emerged on January 2nd, with birds beginning to mimic the sound of fire engines.
Climate journalist David Wallace-Wells writes that there is a “global apathy” in dealing with the wildfire crisis. The New York Times reported that highways and roads were blocked and people fled. LocalAustralians say they are in a “doomsday” situation.
How you’ll help
Many organizations and volunteer services are assisting in firefighting and recovery efforts in affected communities. You can find the donation link below:
The Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund has helped provide evacuation centres and recovery plans for affected communities;
The NSW Rural Fire Service has a donation page to support fire services in NSW;
The Rural Fire Service is the Victorian Rural Fire Service, where you can donate directly.
The Rural Fire Service of South Australia also accepts direct donations.
Salvation Army has a disaster relief donation page to support local communities affected by the fire.
Food banks are making donations to help those in need during the crisis. You can donate to Victoria’s relief efforts on its website, which helps to provide relief to communities with out-of-charge and food shortages.
Givit is a non-profit organization that cares for people in need by allowing you to donate items they continue to deliver. The organization accepts donated items or donations on the donation page.
The RSPCA has called for the protection of pets, livestock and wildlife affected by the forest fires to help evacuate animals from the affected areas.
Airbnb has provided emergency housing to those displaced by wildfires through the Open Housing Initiative. Local affected people can book free accommodation in some parts of New South Wales and Victoria.
The World Wildlife Fund accepts donations to help support conservation activities, especially in relation to koalas. Donations can help provide emergency care during the bushfires.
The Port Macquarie koala hospital has raised more than $2 million to help find and protect koalas in the area. You can donate on its GoFundMe page.
WIRES is an Australian wildlife rescue organisation that helps native Australian animals in a number of ways. Donations can be made through its website.
An online search through Ecosia, the site uses profits to plant trees where they are most needed. Trees help reduce the co2 load. You can add it to Chrome.