The wildfires in Australia ignited in September 2019 and have been continuously blazing till date. It is considered as the deadliest wildfires the country has ever experienced destroying approximately 20 acres of land and killing millions of animals including kangaroo and koalas.
However recently due to some rain and cooler environment, the condition has improved a bit. Still, the country is suffering from 60 fires blazing in the States of Victoria and New South Wales.
The wildfires across Australia have been exacerbated by the record-breaking heat, months of drought and the climate change. The wildfire has affected seven states and territories in Australia including- New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and Northern Territory.
New South Wales being the hardest hit has lost a third of Koalas population. Even one-third of the Kangaroo Island was burned destroying the wildlife and the natural reserves. Around 30 people have lost their lives in the incident which includes four firefighters. A lot of people are still missing. More than 20 acres of land including forests, bushes and parks have been burned because of the deadly fires.
The fire has badly affected the air quality of Australia making it difficult to breathe. In Sydney, the air quality was measured eleven times in December 2019 making it ‘hazardous’ for health. It has been calculated that Australian fire emitted 250 million tonnes of carbon dioxide between August and December 2019.
Multiple bushfires have been experienced by Australia previously but this time it was much worse. The New South Wales Government declared a state of emergency in December and still more than a hundred fires are burning there.
On December 30, 2019, approximately 4,000 residents in Victoria from the East Gippsland region were forced to flee to the sea since the raging flames were coming toward their homes. It is considered as one of the largest evacuations Australia has experienced. 2000 houses are destroyed in New South Wales making the people shift somewhere else for shelter.
The military has sent troops, aircraft and ships to the affected region to help relocation. The State and federal authorities are struggling to find ways to overcome the massive blazes even after getting fire assistance from other countries like The United States.
The continent experiences fire season every year during the Australian summer since the dry weather makes it easier for the blazes to start and spread. Natural causes like lightning strikes in drought-affected forests are majorly responsible for the wildfires. Even humans are blamed for causing the fire. It has been reported that New South Wales police have charged around 20 people who deliberately started the wildfires. They have even taken legal actions against 183 people in offences related to fire since November.
The wildfires have affected the economy of the country badly. It is hard to estimate the eventual economic cost of Australia’s wildfire because they are still underway. Also, it is difficult to know the cost to attribute to deaths and the decimation of species and habitats. In all, it is a big loss for the world in terms of wildlife and natural resources.
Since fires are an annual occurring event in Australia it is unlikely to end entirely. On the other hand, right now Australia is only halfway through its summer season and there are chances that the temperature may increase in the month of February and May. Hence, we can’t make any assumption on when will Australia finally get relief.
The condition is really bad and not much could be done in such a situation. If you really want to help you can donate money to several organizations like Salvation Army Australia, Australia Red Cross, etc. who are working towards victim relief and recovery. Also, organizations like WIRES are working to help the devastated animal population.