As of today (January 8th 2020) we’ve all been humbled by Australia’s ravaging fires. The country has seen unprecedented fires due to persistent heat and drought, ongoing since the beginning of the Australian summer and predicted to intensify as we reach February (Australia’s hottest month).
Yes, each year Australia does incur a fire season. But never one like this one.
Where are the blazes? The ravaging fires have hit almost every state in Australia, however New South Wales—declared a state of emergency in December—has been hit the hardest. Blazes are alight through bushland, national parks like Blue Mountains and the outskirts of cities, where both Melbourne and Sydney saw damaged homes in the suburbs and thick plumes covering their skies and even Kangaroo island —a biodiverse hotspot island in Southern Australia. Follow the flames on this interactive map.
So What is Causing the Fires?Natural Factors: lightning strikes in drought-affected forests. Dry lightning ignited fires in Victoria’s East Gippsland region, which then traveled more than 20km in five hours. Climate Change: has exacerbated the fire season, unforeseen heatwaves: record high temperatures, drier conditions has made weather conditions more extreme. In the last decade fires have been starting earlier in the season and spreading faster. Conspiracy Theories: You may have been reading accounts online on arson lit wildfires, or due to the Greens banning reduction burns earlier in the season. Rest assured these are lies, propagated by vested interests trying to dismantle the connection between the fires and climate change.
What is the Damage so Far?To date: 26M acres or 10.7M hectares have burned so far. Over 2,000 homes, 25 lives and an estimated 1 billion animals have been claimed by the fires.Around $4.4 B are estimated economic damages.What is being done to quell the fires?Around 3,000 firefighters, 90% of which are volunteers have been out every day trying to quell the blazes. Since January 4th ScoMo has called the army reserve to assist with firefighting efforts. USA (100+ firefighter), Canada and New Zealand have sent in their own brigades to help.What Can You Do? Donate. A campaign like Celeste Barber’s $33+M will give its funds directly to NSW RFS (New South Wales Rural Fire Service), they will use the funds to purchase firefighting equipment and facilities, provide training and resources to volunteers and meet administrative expenses of the brigades. Vote and strike. Vote for a green party that will be better prepared for the climate crisis. Strike in solidarity for Australia—organised worldwide by XR Here our list of most reliable fire-fighting services you can donate to:
- Rural Fire Service (NSW)
- Country Fire Authority (VIC)
- Country Fire Service (SA)
- Wires (Wildlife Rescue NSW)
- Fauna Rescue (SA)
- Wildlife Rescue (QLD)
- The Australian Red Cross
- The Salvation Army