Fire from Down Under: The Australian Bushfire Crisis


Fairfax Media

Two Australian firefighters work to quell the raging flames around them.

Australia is known for having one of the world’s most unique environments, with many distinct species and weather events. Bushfires have been a common staple of the Australian environment, and its states battle them every summer. However, no one could have possibly predicted the devastation that this year’s bushfires could have caused.

As of this week, 14.7 million acres have been burned in Australia’s six states. To put in perspective how large this is, that burnt land is larger than the countries of Belgium and Haiti combined. The wildlife of the country is also suffering from the fires, as around 480 million animals have already died in New South Wales alone. Nationwide, the bushfires have killed 24 people, with 18 of those casualties coming from New South Wales. One of the reasons for New South Wales being hit hardest by the fires than the other Australian states is because of arson committed by 24 people, all who have now been arrested and prosecuted.

Climate change has also been linked to the raging flames; recently in Australia, record high temperatures were recorded. Despite the bleak outlook of the current situation, many people are doing their part to aid Australia in fighting the fire, with some American firefighters traveling abroad to the Land Down Under. Scott Morrison, Australia’s Prime Minister unveiled a 1.3 billion dollar fund that will go towards the rebuilding of communities stricken by the bushfires. Other celebrities are also doing their part to donate to the cause, including actor Chris Hemsworth and music reviewer Anthony Fantano. While the bushfires haven’t stopped yet, there is help on the way that will hopefully douse these deadly flames.