Australian Bushfires Continue to Rage Out of Control


Australia is battling to contain the out of control bushfires, and people are being forced out of their homes in the country while the environment, including wildlife, burns to the ground.

The blaze so far has been the worst bushfire on record in Australia. Over 100 fires are raging throughout the country, with 25.5 million acres of land being destroyed. Firefighters have been battling the inferno since the fires began in September of last year. They started in the state of New South Wales, which has felt the harshest impact.

These fires are showing no signs of slowing down, and have destroyed almost everything in their path, including Australian wildlife. An estimated 500 million animals have been lost already, and 24 people have died, while over 2000 homes have been burned to the ground. State and federal firefighting authorities are struggling to contain the blaze, even with assistance from countries such as New Zealand, Canada, and the United States.

Every state in Australia has been hit with bushfires, but the state of New South Wales has it the worst, with fires burning through woodlands, such as the Blue Mountains, a mountain range stretching up and down the East Coast of Australia.

Smoke from these fires has also impacted large cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. Fires have damaged homes in the outer suburbs and thick plumes of smoke have covered the urban centers of these cities. In December of 2019, the air quality in Sydney measured at 11 times more than the hazardous level.

Bush fires have also been travelling at a crazy speed. The average human runs at a speed of 6.1 miles per hour. These fires on average are travelling at 14.1 miles per hour, which Is twice the speed of a forest fire. This speed can be attributed to the intense summer weather which Australia is suffering through.

Each year, fire season in Australia starts at the beginning of the Australian summer. The hot and dry weather makes it easy for a blaze to start. Natural causes are the main reasons for bushfires starting, such as lightning strikes in drought-affected areas. Dry lightning was responsible for starting many fires in Victoria. These fires proceeded to travel 12.4 miles in just 20 minutes.

This summer, drought and temperatures have played a huge part in the ongoing fires. On average, the temperature across the country is the highest it’s ever been. Last December, the country broke its all-time temperature record twice. An average of 40.9 degrees Celsius (105.62 degrees Fahrenheit) was recorded across the country on December 17, which was topped a day later by a temperature of 41.9 degrees Celsius (107.42 degrees). Both of these temperatures surpassed the previous record set in 2013 of 40.3 degrees Celsius (104.5 degrees Fahrenheit).

Peta Creek, an Australian living in Western Australia, said the fires have not directly affected her area her, but the fires are on everyone’s mind. “We have had only a few deliveries restricted to our area, such as some magazines,” she told The Willistonian. “The fires have definitely made me evaluate our surroundings and have been a topic within the family on a daily basis.”

With the loss of over 500 million animals, and over a third of all koalas being wiped out, it has been emotionally saddening on a global scale.

“This is probably the saddest part of it all, the loss of human and animal lives,” Peta continued. “These creatures never had a chance and we have probably lost a lot of flora and fauna that will never be recovered, and species will be extinct.”

Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister of Australia, is under a lot of heat from the Australian public for not acting fast enough.

“Scott Morrison could have taken on board the recommendations of the Arnhem people (Aboriginal people) who have lived on this land much longer than we have,” Peta said. “There should have been more burning back as we suggested. The government should have stepped up quicker and had a faster reaction to the initial fires.”

Perhaps the biggest thing that people are criticizing Scott Morrison for is that he went on vacation right after the fires were getting out of control. “Probably the biggest blunder by Scotty was going on holidays and publicly enjoying life when in reality he is meant to be there for the people,” Peta said.

It does not look as though the fires will be slowing down anytime soon. Over 2,700 firefighters, including volunteers, are on the ground battling the blaze. Other countries will continue to help until the fires are under control.

“Hopefully we can get some control and stop them but the way things are going, I don’t know if that’s possible,” Peta said.