Australia started the year in smoke.
Towards the end of last year, the world watched as the Brazilian Amazon was engulfed in flames. Once more, the world watches as large areas of land burn, only this time, the flames are found in Australia.
Beginning in 2020, fires blazed across the New South Wales area, Mallacoota, and Victoria.
These fires are like nothing we have seen before. About 16 million acres have burned in New South Wales, where the crisis is centered. The area has become roughly the size of West Virginia, according to the New York Times.
According to National Geographic, the fires in Australia have burned about eight times as much land as the 2018 fires in California, which covered nearly two million acres – the worst in California’s recorded history.
The Australian fires are also 7.75 acres larger than the acres burned last year in the Amazon basin. The deadly fires have caused widespread devastation across the ecosystem.
According to BBC News, as many as 480 million mammals, birds, and reptiles were affected by the fires, killing more than a billion native animals. The fires have brought many species almost to extinction according to The Washington Post.
Many kangaroos were affected by the fire. Common wounds include burnt feet, claws, and tails, some were barely able to move.
Just like the Amazon fires, it was more than a natural disaster; there is more to be blamed than global warming since nearly 200 people have been charged with fire-related offenses contributing to the deadly fires. Instead of people helping their own home, they decided to make it worse.
However, climate change stands as the reason why the fires have gotten so out of hand. Humans are at fault, not only for ignoring the fact that global warming actually exists, but also for turning forests and countries into a hell on earth.
Australia performs prescribed-burning, which forms ‘anchor points’ to fight the fires. These low-fuel areas are necessary for indirect suppression strategies including back burning.
On Jan. 31, the capital region declared a state of emergency, according to ABC News, because of a fire that covered 35,800 hectares. The fires threatened Canberra’s southern suburbs and nearby villages.
The continuing state of emergency is the first in the Australian Capital Territory since 2003 when wildfires killed four people and destroyed almost 500 homes in a single day.
A dozen homes were destroyed in the area. According to Boston News, the fire had also burned 55,000 hectares of forest and farmlands by Feb. 2.
Fires across southern Australia have killed at least 33 people since Sept. of 2019, including three American firefighters, and have left more than 3,000 people without a home.
These Australian fires have completely destroyed an area about the size of England, according to TIME. It may also create the nation’s first climate refugees.
While firefighters are battling flames across the country, Australia’s Prime Minister is fighting to keep climate change out of the conversation by blaming other things rather than telling people the truth about the situation.
The first thing we expect to be done when a massive portion of a country is being destroyed due to human interaction and natural causes is for those in power to inform the public as to what is occurring, to address ways to fix the problem at hand, and to protect the nation’s land. However, that has not occurred, and it seems that Australia’s Prime Minister has forgotten what his job is: to act as the chief government spokesperson.
People need to be conscious of what is happening in the world.
We need to not only be aware that climate change is occurring, but we also must come up with ways to prevent this problem and to repair any damage that has already occurred.
We cannot lose any more land. This is not only a problem that affects those areas, but it is also a problem that affects the whole world, and it needs to be stopped.
If any wildfire will teach us something, this one should. It is too late to recover from some of the past fires, but it is not too late to protect the rest of the environment from future fires.
The world has lost about 20 million acres of forest due to fires, and we cannot afford to lose more.
We don’t need to feel useless just because we are far away; there are many organizations accepting donations; not only money, but also clothes and food for those who have lost their homes.
Many funds have also been made to help Australia, like the Bushfire Emergency Wildfire Fund. If you can’t contribute, you can still help the environment at your own house, by helping nature, picking up trash, and not wasting water.
We need to remember that this planet might one day die and we will have nowhere else to go.