By: Nick Austin
Australia is currently experiencing one of the worst droughts in decades. Some states in Australia were experiencing average temperatures ranging from about 113-120 degrees Fahrenheit which broke the record for the highest nationwide average temperature. This drought has made it easy for fires to be sparked across the country. The fires in Australia are some of the biggest to ever be recorded. While most of these fires have been started by natural causes such as lightning strikes, while other fires were started by people. New South Wales officials have charged at least 24 people with deliberately starting brush fires and another 183 people for fire-related offenses.
The Fires in Australia have currently engulfed around 17.9 million acres and that number is still growing. For some perspective, the California wildfires in 2018, which were the biggest out of all the California wildfires, burned only 1 million acres. As of right now a total of 27 people have died in Australia due to the fires.
Over 500 million animals have been affected by the fires and many millions have died. Ecologists at the University of Sydney, however, claim that the number of affected animals could be over a billion. Experts have said that some species of birds and frogs could go extinct due to the fires since these species live in small condensed areas of the country.
New South Wales has over 2,000 firefighters helping fight the blaze. The state of Victoria declared a state of disaster and New South Wales also declared a state of emergency. These declarations allows for more government resources to be used to battle the fires. Other countries such as the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand have sent firefighters over to help. The Australian Federal Government has also sent in military assistance such as army personnel, air force, aircraft, and army cruisers to help fight the fires. The fires however, are just getting started as Australia’s fire season doesn’t end until May. More fires like this one are likely to occur in the future because of how little rain Australia sees during this time of year and how badly climate change is affecting the average temperatures around the world.
If you would like to donate funds to help Australians recover from these devastating fires you can doate at the Australian Red Cross, Salvation Army Australia, the NSW Rural Fire Service, and the St. Vincent de Paul Society Australia.