General

The New Year’s Bushfire

Red skies over Mallacoota as a result of the fires

Before beginning this article, we at Panah Kirana would like to wish all that would be reading a happy new year and may your wishes and resolution came, that being said it appears that this new year might not be so fortunate for our neighbors down at Australia

 

As of 2020, a massive bushfire erupted all across the populated sections of Australia with the most appearing in the eastern side of the continent which happens to also be where all the major cities are located and thusly the effects to human life on the continent could never be more impactful. As of January 14th 2020, a report from the Australian government has estimated that around 20 million hectares of land has been destroyed by the bushfire, most of which are forest and the occasional grasslands. Ultimately however, the greatest impact is felt by the native wildlife of Australia who lost many of their homes to the fire.


Left: Red areas indicates the impacted zones

Currently there are many speculations as to the cause of the fire however the main one being is that due to the recent issues with climate change, rising temperatures and drier climates triggered a bout of heatwaves that in turn triggered the forest fires. On December the 18th of last year, the highest recorded temperature was around 41.9 degrees which is extremely hot even during summer seasons. Now Australia itself is not a stranger towards fighting bushfires and in fact has become quite proficient in it, however the one that occurred this year is unlike anything that they have experienced and currently is considered as one of Australia’s worst environmental disasters.

 

To state that it has ruined a good majority of Australia’s ecosystem would be an understatement, it is roughly estimated that about half a billion animals and around 25 human lives have perished due to the fire and it is predicted that many endangered animals such as the Long-Footed Potoroo may have become extinct due to the fires taking place in its home area. More “common” animals are also in danger however, such as the Koala and the wallabies are considered to be reclassified as “endangered” due to fires consuming their homes and natural habitats and thereby reducing their numbers to a near critical state.

left: An infant Kangaroo is being treated for burns to its legs
Moreover the damages to Australia’s forestries
left: Firefighters from numerous Australian fire and rescue services fight tooth and nail in an attempt to contain the fire, two firefighters are confirmed to have died due to the fires.

Moreover, the destruction of over 20 million acres of land, most of which are vibrant with plant life as well as wildlife. This has made it one of the largest environmental fires to have ever happened, dwarfing even the comparatively large amazon forest fires that had happened the year before. It should not need any mention that the effects this would have on climate change would be devastating with the burn forest’s providing a huge release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere thereby further expanding and quickening the process of global warming and subsequently climate change induced drought that triggered the fires in the first place.

 

Thanks to the brave efforts of the numerous Australian fire and rescue units, alongside help from formations of the Australian Defence forces the fires the spread of the fire is now being slowly contained and it is noted that the spread has not been as rampant as before, efforts are now being made to airdrop food towards starving animals in an attempt to save the endangered species further threatened by the fire. Moreover, the international community has pledged and delivered assistance with the largest coming from Japan, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Malaysia and the United States, with assistance ranging from delivery of equipment to providing personnel for rescue and firefighting duties.

Members of the New South Wales fire and rescue service airdrop carrots and potatoes(Photo courtesy of NSW government)

From these events hopefully it could be learned that the matter of climate change and global warming is one should be taken seriously, even if the events are induced by nature we cannot simply look the other way and not have a sense of responsibility that our own irresponsible actions regarding the maintenance of the environment have culminated in this great catastrophe. We must also look upon and give thanks to the brave men and women who have risked their lives, we must also be thankful towards the international community for through their contributions it is shown that man, no matter their country or creed would be willing to help one another when faced with danger such as these. Let us hope that we may learn from these events so that in the future we may never have to face it again.

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