Australia fires

Australia fires

Shreya Madan, Staff Reporter

Since September, fires have been burning all across Australia, with 17.9 acres of land burned and an estimated one billion animals killed. This is the country’s worst fire season on record.

Alongside the career firefighters battling the flames, there are thousands of volunteer firefighters. This raises the question of whether a large part of the firefighter force will continue to work without pay. Firefighters have also expressed their thoughts about how they could use more donations for equipment to aid in extinguishing these horrific fires.

“It can only help. If you donate, even that little bit would contribute to help somebody who’s struggling,” said Racheal Cone, a freshman at Hidden Valley.

Being a firefighter is a very dangerous job and there have been deaths. Not only have firefighters been killed, but an estimated 27 people have died due to the fires as well. Some Australians have moved out of their homes, but others feel that trying to leave is even more dangerous than staying.

These wildfires are being fueled by a combination of record high temperatures, long-term droughts, and very low air and soil moisture. Scientists fear that with the climate change that is already taking place, these deadly blazes could become even more common in the future.

“In my opinion, these fires are damaging the environment. High temperatures and climate change are causing these wildfires. They are ruining people’s homes and taking people’s lives,” said Cone.

Another problem is the amount of carbon being emitted from the smoke, which is a big factor contributing to climate change.

“One of my worries is that our atmosphere is taking in more CO2 very quickly, it has already hit the limit that it should have in the year,” mentioned Olivia Tingle, a freshman at Hidden Valley.

Just the scale of the emissions and the severity of the fires are worrying scientists all across the globe.

“One thing that really worries me is the damage. These fires are causing people to leave their homes and families. Animals and wildlife are getting killed and separated from families,” Cone shared.

A rising concern for many scientists is the death of so many animals. An estimated one billion have been killed and the numbers are still rising. The furious gusts and extreme heat have left animals little opportunity to escape. Koalas are a very vulnerable animal in these fires since they don’t have the ability to move away quickly from the flames. Over 1,000 koalas have died in the fires and about 80% of their habitat has been destroyed. The fires in Australia threaten many unique species and put them in danger of extinction.

Not only have fires been destroying the country, but there is a political storm brewing in Australia as well. Many Australians are extremely frustrated that their prime minister is not taking enough action and giving a seemingly nonchalant response to the entire situation. After being harshly criticized for his actions Morrison did say he would focus more on the crisis at hand (Wamsley, Laurel. “Australian Prime Minister to Launch Inquiry into Handling of Wildfires.” NPR, 12 Jan. 2020, www.npr.org)

Firefighters and scientists from around the world are trying to figure out ways to slow down the fires and hopefully extinguish them faster.

“I think that these fires are terrible and need to be stopped as quickly as possible,” urged Tingle.

With many rising concerns and deaths people are trying to figure out a solution fast. One way others can help is donating to Australia and its firefighter force, so be sure contribute and help put a stop to the destructive flames!