Australia is on FIRE
Hey, you guys remember Australia? Well it’s on fire right now. Much of rural Australia is currently experiencing widespread wildfires ever since late July last year. The fires have killed 28 people nationwide, damaged and destroyed over 2000 homes, and affected more than 1 billion animal lives for the worse. The origination of the fires is still unknown; some believe it is due to man-made bushfires, while many others believe climate change is to blame. Australia is a naturally hot, arid climate, and bushfires are not abnormal during heat-waves and droughts. According to CNN reporter Jessie Yeung, “Australia is experiencing one of its worst droughts in decades -- the country's Bureau of Meteorology said in December that last spring was the driest on record. Meanwhile, a heatwave in December broke the record for highest nationwide average temperature, with some places sweltering under temperatures well above 40 degrees Celsius (about 113-120 degrees Fahrenheit).” Natural causes may also include a lighting striking during a dry thunderstorm, which is a storm where most if not all of the precipitation evaporates before it hits the ground. Urban areas not being directly affected by the flames are still filling with smoke and haze, causing the air to become toxic. According to The Verge reporter Justine Calma, “On January 1st, Australia’s capital recorded the worst pollution it’s ever seen, with an air quality index 23 times higher than what’s considered ‘hazardous.’” The fires are currently being combated by paid and volunteer firefighters from Australia, as well as volunteer firefighters that were sent from America, Canada, and New Zealand. Volunteer firefighters helping for extended periods of time are being compensated, and the federal government is also sending army officials to help with clean up, evacuation, and search-and-rescue.
So what can we do?
Tons of organizations are open to US donations for victim relief and recovery, as well as wildlife treatment and rescue. If you feel like donating to help Australia, a few organizations making an effort are listed below:
Victim relief and recovery:
Australian Red Cross
Salvation Army Australia
the NSW Rural Fire Service
St. Vincent de Paul Society Australia
Nature Conservancy Australia
World Wildlife Fund Australia
New South Wales Brushfires on Google
Wildlife rescue and treatment groups:
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital
Currumbin Wildlife Hospital