Wildfires strike Australia


Wikimedia Commons

Forests and tress burn as wildfires tear through Australia

Kerrigan Tyson, Copy Editor


In September 2019, an intense drought struck Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. With up to 100 wildfires striking the continent in the span of one month, people have been forced to evacuate to safer locations.
As evident in photographs that have been taken of the fires, the intensity has caused the skies to turn a shade of red, and storms have started forming from the smoke. As of January, 2020, there have been around one billion animals killed in these fires, according to Vox.com. This is including a multitude of birds, kangaroos, and koalas amongst many other wildlife; this number consistently grows each day.
According to Npr.org, the Australian fires have destroyed more than 17 million acres of land, killing at least 26 people and burning about 3,000 homes, as of January 11, 2020. Officials have even claimed that the fires could continue for another few months. However, according to Wikipedia.org on January 14, about 46 millions acres have been burned, at least 34 people have died, and 5,900 total buildings have been destroyed (with 2,779 of them being homes).
Many people believed that the wildfires were caused by people as a form of arson, but recently this has been debunked. The fires have been caused by a combination of extreme heat, a long drought, strong wind speeds, and lightning strikes. According to Npr.org and the Australian Institute of Criminology, if the fires were to be purposely caused as a form of arson, the bushfires would only rage for about 12 acres of land.
New South Wales (NSW), which has been a core for the spreading fires, is currently being impacted the most. New South Wales is currently under an SOS Alert, after previously calling a State of Emergency back in December of 2019. A multitude of hectares, which is as large as 2.47 acres, have been raging in flames, some unable to be controlled at the moment. New fires are striking the communities each and every morning, and most people are not prepared in case it does happen. NSW has been giving frequent updates about the fires on their website.
On January 22, three U.S. firefighters were killed while trying to help extinguish these fires while aboard an air tanker. The three who were on board were all veterans, with two of them being fathers. The three men were identified as Paul Hudson of Arizona, Rick DeMorgan of Florida, and Ian McBeth of Montana. At the moment, the cause of the plane’s crash has not been determined., though according to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service’s commissioner,
Contact had been lost with the water-bomber plane at around 1:30 p.m.
The fires are burning more dangerously each day, but it is easy to help and spread any sort of awareness to the cause. You can donate to NSW and help the cause through Google, or you can share the stories of what is happening. Some people did not know that this was happening until months later. Spread the news; Australia needs the world’s help.