Australian Bushfire Crisis

All across Australia, humans and wildlife alike have been threatened by devastating wildfires for the past few months. The fire season began in late July and has since claimed the lives of twenty-eight people and the homes of more than three thousand. The fires have also wreaked havoc on Australian wildlife; well over 500 million animals have been affected by the fires, which have left millions dead and many more injured and/or without a place to live. While there is not one specific source to blame for the fires starting, there are a number of contributing factors. One major factor is nature. During the Australian summer, which takes place during winter in the northern hemisphere, hot, dry weather makes it easy for fires like the ones currently ravaging the country to start and rapidly spread. Other weather phenomenons like dry lighting have been recorded as the cause of multiple fires. Another factor that has contributed to the start and spread of these bushfires is humans. Police in New South Wales, a state in Australia, have charged twenty-four people with intentionally starting bushfires. 138 more people were involved illegally in the fire-related offenses.

Global attention has been given to these fires, and leaders both within Australia and worldwide have made efforts to stop the blazes. The Australian states of Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland have all declared either a state of disaster or a state of emergency, which has given them extraordinary powers and extra government resources to use to fight the fires. The U.S., Canada, and New Zealand have offered their services by sending additional firefighters to help the thousands of Australians working to stop the fires. The Australian Federal Government has also sent in military personnel to assist with firefighting, evacuation, search and rescue, and clean-up efforts in the trails of the fires. Many people from all around the world have also donated to the cause, showing their support for the residents of the devastated nation. Unfortunately, the fires are unlikely to end anytime soon as Australia is only about halfway through its summer season, and temperatures normally peak in February, potentially leading to more intense fires.