Australian Bushfires


photo via the New York Times

Fire has been raging throughout all of Australia, consuming both people and animals in its path. These bushfires started in June 2019 and have yet to be controlled. At least 46 million acres have been destroyed in the roaring flames.


These blazes started as mere sparks, of course. The national fire season lasts from December to February. Arid weather makes it extremely easy for fires to start and spread. 


Natural causes, such as lightning strikes in drought-affected areas, are responsible for the majority of bushfires. However, humans are also to blame. The heavily populated state of New South Wales has recently fined at least 24 people with deliberately starting wildfires.


This fire season is worse than most. Climate change and extremely harsh conditions are making Australia the perfect play-place for fires. Throughout the 2019 spring season, an average of one mere inch of rain fell across the country. This was the driest spring on record.


Heatwaves and powerful winds have also contributed to these destructive blazes. Temperatures of up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit scorch areas of Australia during a recent heat waves. Winds allow the fires to travel more than 12.4 miles in five hours. 


Nothing is safe from the bushfires’ wrath. In Sydney, the amount of smoke was so concentrated that the air quality was 11 times the “hazardous” level. 


The most damage occurred in New South Wales. 1,588 homes are completely destroyed. Over 650, damaged. More than 17.9 million acres have been decimated by the glowing tongues of destruction in Australia. 33 people have died in the flames. 


No one has felt the destruction of the fires more than Australia’s animal population. 500 million animals have been affected by the flames. A third of the koala population in New South Wales has been killed.


Some animals may go extinct due from their unique habitats being destroyed. Without the specific area that provides their specific necessities, there is a very low chance of survival.


Even with efforts by the Australian government, the flames show no clear signs of stopping. Hopefully, with the end of Australia’s summer, the bushfires will end as well.