Fires Ablaze in Australia


UN News

Australian wildfires spreading throughout the continent as firefighters attempt to set it out.

Katherine Ortiz, Photojournalist

The worst wildfire in decades has destroyed Australia, affecting not only the wildlife, but the population as well.

These fires started on November 11, 2019 in Ravensbourne, but this was just the beginning of the detrimental fire season in Australia. Most of these fires are a result of natural causes, but 24 people have been charged for deliberately starting fires. Climate change has also taken a toll as fire season keeps starting earlier each year. These fires have detrimental effects on Australia because it is in the middle of one of the worst droughts in decades. It is estimated that 17.9 million acres have been scorched, New South Wales having the most acres burnt out of Australia’s six states. 

Millions of animals have died and as many as a billion animals have been affected by these fires, their habitats destroyed. as an effect of this treacherous fire.  It is estimated that a third of the koala population has died. Many scientists are worried that animals with specialized niches will be put on the endangered list after this fire. Scientists can only estimate how many animals are at risk, they will not know the damage until they take research after the fires have been put out. Volunteers from across the world flew into Australia, hoping to help injured animals and save them from the fire.

In order to fight the fire, over 2,000 firefighters from Australia and many more from the US, Canada, and New Zealand have come together. The federal government set up military assistance and 2 billion dollars in federal aid will help build public buildings after they were destroyed by the fire. Not only will money be given to help rebuild, but each volunteer firefighter will receive $4,200 as well as compensated pay and extra leave. Chelsea Asciak (11) added that, “I am glad that other countries are helping Australia. It is good that we are coming together.” Multiple states in Australia declared a state of disaster or emergency, gaining additional government support to help fight the fires. 

The fire season has just begun in Australia, as temperatures usually rise in the months of January and February. These fires will continue to worsen, based off recent patterns and the result of climate change. 

Multiple emergency service officials warned the Prime Minister of Australia of the environmental impact of climate change. The prime minister, responded assuring he would reduce carbon emission. Now, the prime minister admits he made a mistake over handling the bush fires in the country. Rallies in Australian cities are taking place to protest how the prime minister and government have handled the fires. 

These rampant fires continue to burn in Australia, destroying wildlife habitats as well as hundreds of houses in the process.