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If you haven’t gotten the smoke signals by now, you’ll know that the continent of Australia is on fire. Most people understand that the fire is bad, but just exactly how bad is it? And what can people do to help?
Wildfires are natural in Australia in their summer seasons, but this fire is the worst they’ve ever seen. The fires broke out during the record-breaking heatwave. The weather in Australia is helping to fuel the flames with scorching heat and drought.
Here’s what we do know. Since September, when the fires started, 28 people have been killed and Australian officials said the number is likely to rise. With thousands of homes damaged, the fires have burned about 10 million acres in South New Wales. On top of that damage in Victoria, there are around 90 fires burning which in total has burned around 24 million acres. If you need a visual, the California fires that raged in 2018 only burned around 1.9 million acres.
During mid-December, the average temperature was around 107 degrees. But climate change is also part of the problem as well as human actions, including crimes of arson. Australia usually has hot weather variety in its fire seasons but climate change has made the summer/fire season longer and hotter helping the fires get more dangerous. With the air being as dangerous as smoking 19 cigarettes.
Australia is home to many animals including marsupials which are “mammals of an order whose members are born incompletely developed and are typically carried and suckled in a pouch on the mother’s belly.” The fires have already killed what’s estimated 1 billion animals. And the animals that do make it don’t have a shelter to go back to. Because the fires are still very strong it’s estimated that Kangaroo island, which has been a safe haven for the kangaroo population, will likely be burned. At this rate scientist and officials don’t know what the long terms effect will be.
But don’t just don’t care about the fires because the animals, care about it because everyone is at risk. The smoke at New South Wales is so long that if you put it in a straight line it would go from Sydney to Pakistan. Smoke is a pollutant that irritates and help causes respiratory illnesses. Smoke particles can be as small as 2.5 micrometers, getting into the lungs and into the bloodstream. The smoke from the fires is starting to reach other parts of the Earth as well. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) says it is “in the process of circumnavigating the planet.” Videos on mainstream media such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook show people in New Zealand, around 4,100 km away (2,500 miles) showing yellow skies with smoke. It’s even reached parts of South America due to the winds.
Why should we care? What could we even do? Well, you can start by donating or sharing this link across all social media. https://www.redcross.org.au/
By the time this story goes up the number will have likely went up. In fact, it already has. In the one day, the acres of burnt land has gone up 2 millions acres. This is a big topic that needs to be discussed. There will be articles and resources listed. There are pictures, articles and an article where they had Australians send in their experiences with the fires. It’s helpful to be educated on something that will affect everyone and every living thing on planet Earth.
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