Australia is on fire, and it only seems to be heating up

Bryan Liu ‘22

Every year, Australia is ravaged by wildfires throughout. But for this year in particular, the fires seem to be significantly stronger than previous blazes.


Since late July of 2019, wildfires have been spreading all across the nation, engulfing woodlands, bushlands, and even national parks. Most fires are started because of natural causes such as dry lightning, extreme heat, and droughts. In the state of New South Wales alone, more than two thousand people have been forced to relocate with thousands of homes being burned down and damaged. 


Many experts have cited climate change as a leading factor of the growing impact of natural disasters, i.e. the Australian bushfires. Extreme weather conditions have caused the fire season to start earlier every year.


In total, over 17 million acres of land have been burned since July with New South Wales sustaining 12.1 million acres of damage. Over half a billion animals and wildlife have been affected, according to the University of Sydney, and, in actuality, the number could be well over a billion. Habitat destruction poses a severe problem to niche environments as it could lead to the possible extinction of certain species. So far, the only information that experts have are based on population data and statistics. Until the fires clear up, there will be no way to fully survey the extent of damage caused by the bushfires.


For months, authorities and the federal government have concentrated their efforts to combat the blaze. States like New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland have declared a state of emergency, requesting additional government resources and aid. With over two thousand firefighters now stationed all over the nation, the Australian government is making an effort to fight the fire with volunteers from nations all over the world, including Canada, New Zealand, and the US.


Unfortunately, the fires won’t be ending anytime soon as the season stretches throughout January and February. Given that the fire season is annually recurring, future bushfires may blaze even stronger than years prior. If so, it is crucial that Australia have the proper resources to handle another fire of this magnitude. There are a number a charitable organizations working towards victim relief and wildlife rescue such as the Australian Red Cross, Salvation Army Australia, and New South Wales’ Wildlife Information, Rescue, and Education Service, or WIRES for short. So far they’ve generated significant amounts of money to support the cause. 


With continued support from other organizations and countries, Australia might just make a full recovery from the bushfires and emerge poised and ready for the next one.