Fires in Australia

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Fires in Australia

Fatima Imam, News Writer

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Australia has been in the headlines recently as it is on fire. The fires have been raging since September of 2019. The reasons behind them were high temperatures, severe drought and climate change. According to BBC.com, the fires have killed at least thirty people, destroyed over three thousand homes in the state of New South Wales alone and “burnt through 10 million hectares of land- an area almost the size of England.”

      The fires have hit every state in Australia, especially New South Wales. Also, they have burned through national parks like the Blue Mountains and Australia’s largest cities’ Melbourne and Sydney. “Earlier in December, the smoke was so bad in Sydney that air quality measured 11 times the “hazardous” level (CNN).” 

     One of the most devastating parts of the fires was the fact that about half a billion animals have been affected by the Australian fires, with almost a third of koalas in New South Wales killed. John Woinarski, professor of conservation biology at Charles Darwin University, stated it was too early to call extinctions, but many species had almost all the entire area of their population burned (Guardian). Plants are in danger too, such as the critically endangered Wollemi pine or “dinosaur tree”.

    Generously, the Australian government has pledged $50 million to rescue and protect wildlife affected by the bushfire crisis (Guardian). Environmental effort groups such as Birdlife Australia, WWF and Humane Society International have written to the federal environment minister, Sussan Ley, to express the  concern for thirteen endangered species, and urge for more national environment laws. 

   As the fires continue, firefighters have been working to keep the fires from spreading. 

However, the people and wildlife that have been displaced need the support of others. There are organizations such as the Australian Red Cross and WIRES, a wildlife rescue nonprofit, that have been accepting donations in order to help those in need.

Artwork by Aisha Sudhir