By Patrick Culcasi || Layout Assistant
Fires are still raging across the continent of Australia, especially in the southeastern quadrant of the country. The whole country has been ravaged by months of natural disaster, with different fires constantly burning in different areas of the country. According to Business Insider, there is still one month left in the fire season in Australia, and this year’s fires have already been worse than any the country has had on record. Thousands of animals have been affected, 32 people have been killed, animals have died, homes and habitats have been lost. According to The Guardian, 7.7 million hectares or roughly 29,730 square miles have been charred. Many of the native animals in the country, like koala bears and kangaroos, have lost their habitats as a result of the flames. Naturalist groups have worked to save these unique animal species and shelter them until there is no risk in returning them back to the wild.
The root of the Canberra region fire was started by an amateur bee-keeper according to the New York Post. The bee-keeper accidentally caught a section of brush on his property alight while using his smoker to sedate the bees. This then spread across the Canberra region and through the Australian bush. This instance is just one of many everyday actions that have led to one of the most catastrophic fire seasons on record. Many scientists have argued that, whatever the starting point of the fires may be, their increased frequency is the result of global climate change. In places like Australia, where fires are already common, the actions of humans can alter the climate, leading the drying out of trees, soil, and brush. The environment thus becomes the perfect tinder.
The fires have left the entire country of Australia in need of help. Several nonprofit organizations have been helping with relief for animals and humans as well as wrecked infrastructure and nature. Some of these organizations include the Australian Red Cross, which is accepting donations. The Australian Salvation Army is advising people to send money instead of goods, so people can use funds in the way they most need. The World Wildlife Foundation is accepting donations for feeding and caring for the injured koala population, and finally, Airbnb is even offering free housing for displaced peoples. On top of organizations and companies sharing their help and goodwill, individuals, such as Australian celebrities have asked people to donate to local fire companies and relief efforts
This is one of the worst instances of wildfire in the world to date, and it shows no sign of slowing. The Washington Post writes that climate change issues have been at the forefront of the political discussion in Australia for years. As it stands Prime Minister Morrison is not interested in climate change policy. Morrison was in fact on vacation when the fires broke out, but he has guaranteed $1.4 dollars and 3,000 defense force members to help in prevention and reparation efforts. The fires have raised the prominence of climate change as an issue in Australia, and it remains to be seen how the country will finally handle the disaster is has been facing.
Sophomore Patrick Culcasi is a layout assistant. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.