Australia Bushfires: What’s Happening?
Australian bushfires are a nationwide phenomenon. These wildfires are unlike anything the world has seen before, especially in Australia. They started in late October 2019 and are still burning throughout the entire country. Large bushfires like this mostly happen in lowly populated and forested areas of the world like Canada, not in very populated places like Australia.
The New York Times reported that, “the bushfires in southeastern Australia this season have burned about eight times as much land as the 2018 fires in California. They are also far larger than the estimates of 2.2 million acres burned by September last year in the Amazon basin.” The after-effects from the fires will not only affect human life, but the vast amount of wildlife in Australia.
In addition to at least 24 human lives, one billion animals have died in the bushfires. More specifically, 25,000 koalas were consumed by the flames and 10,000 feral camels are expected to be shot and killed due to the torment of the drought and extreme heat. The New York Times reported that,“they are roaming the streets looking for water. We are worried about the safety of the young children; they think it is fun to chase the camels but it is of course very dangerous.” Smaller insect species are in danger as well since they were endangered beforehand.
Witnesses and firefighters describe their traumatic experiences with these bushfires. Many people have heard animals weep with terror as the fire consumes them as well as watch their home burn down to the ground. Lindsay Perrin, a woman from Michelago, Australia, reported to ABC News that she, “managed to save their house, but lost buildings and their treasured dogs. "We're up a hill from what was the fire front, so it just ran, it just flew up. Incredibly intense, we thought we could fight it, but we couldn't. I had 18 retired greyhounds of which I had to listen to 13 burn to death, which was a nightmare, but I've saved five.”
Then, the fire was just about to hit her house, when firefighters managed to save it. Unfortunately, her dogs perished in the fire. Many stories like Ms. Perrin’s are similar to other victims and there are others who were hit even worse.
For now, organizations such as the Australian Red Cross, GIVIT, and Salvation Army Australia are helping out. The New York Times reported: “The Australian Red Cross is accepting donations to its Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund, which has helped to send 1,285 staff members and volunteers to communities affected by the fires.” GIVIT is an Australian organization that donates goods that are specifically requested by the victims of the fires. In addition, Australian natives like Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, and Chris Hemsworth have donated over hundreds of thousands of dollars to help relieve the destruction of Australia. Although Australia has experienced a colossal tragedy, they are determined to rebuild their country.