Wildfires across Australia

Maggie Carnohan, Staff Writer

Scorched terrain, crazy hot temperatures, people losing their homes, and animals struggling to survive. This is what it is currently going on in the majority of Australia. Not everyone knows what is really going on in Australia right now. The big question, what can we do to help?

According to the article Why these Australia Fires Are Like Nothing We’ve Seen Before, by Jamie Tarabay, more than 16 million acres have gone up in flames so far, and the fires have burned down at least 2 million acres. In late October, lightning struck on Gospers Mountain in New South Wales. The trees were already bone dry from consecutive winters with no or little rain, so it caused the fires to spread quickly. Three months later, it is still burning. The Gospers Mountain fire, which became Australia’s largest “mega blaze”, grew to connect with separate fires. What is happening has prompted a mission to save prehistoric trees so rare that their exact location is kept secret. Dozens of others are still burning in the southeastern states of New South Wales and Victoria, some are out of control, despite heavy rain in some areas in recent days. Fire season is far from over, and a month of summer still remains. Australia has faced deadlier fire seasons: the Black Saturday bushfires, which occurred almost 11 years ago when downed power lines ignited blazes that were spread by 60 mph winds, killed 173 people in Victoria.

Katharine Bucher, sixth grader, said, “I have heard that they are spreading everywhere and are hurting animals. I think that more people should donate money to help the people, animals and firefighters. I say that because we would want people doing that for us if we needed help.” Somfechukwu Nzekwu, seventh grader, said, “I have only heard things go around about how most of the continent is burning up in flames. If they already have, we should just try to send more people, like firefighters, from the United States to help as much as possible.”

The article How To Help the Victims of Australia’s Wildfires states that the Australian Red Cross is accepting donations to its Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund, which has helped to send 1,285 staff members and volunteers to communities affected by the fires and to provide support to displaced people sheltering in more than 69 evacuation and recovery centers. There are lots of ways to donate to those who need help.

As Tarabay later adds in her article, last year was the hottest and driest year on record in Australia, and some regions have been gripped by drought for years. This season, the fires started earlier than usual, some as soon as July, and are expected to last well into February and March. While scientists have long predicted that climate change would bring longer and more intense fire seasons, the blazes were not expected to be this bad this soon.