Australian Wildfire Crisis

Australian Bushfire

Since Nov. 11 of 2019, wildfires have been spreading across Australia, affecting every Australian state. Setting a blaze bushland, wooded areas, and national parks, this is the worst wildfires seen in decades. Even the largest cities in Australia, including Melbourne and Sydney, fires have damaged homes in the outer suburbs and heavy smoke has blanketed the city center. In early December, air quality in Sydney measured 11 times the “hazardous” level.

The fires range in area from small blazes to massive inferno that occupy hundreds of acres of land. Some begin and are contained in a just a couple of days, but the biggest blazes have been burning for months. In New South Wales (NSW) alone, more than 100 fires are burning.

What is Causing the Fires?

Climate change deniers are blaming Australia’s wildfires on arson, but specialists say that the exaggerated claims are part of a major disinformation campaign and that arson by itself can’t explain the unprecedented blazes.

Theories blaming arsonists on the wildfires gained momentum in recent days after NSW police arrested 24 people, that are charged with purposely lighting fires since November.

What is Being Done?

In early January, Australian state Victoria declared a state of disaster a long with NSW declaring state of emergency, which grants both additional government resources to fight the fires. In addition, the Australian state Queensland also briefly declared a state of emergency, in November.

More than 2,000 firefighters are battling fires in NSW alone, and additional support is being sent from United States, Canada, and New Zealand.

The Australian federal government has sent in military assistance for firefighting, evacuation, search and rescue, and clean-up efforts. In addition, 3 billion Australian dollars in federal aid has been allocated to help rebuild essential infrastructure, such as schools and health facilities affected by fire.

When will the fires end?

Unfortunately, Australia is just entering their summer season. Usually, temperatures are at their highest in January and February. Which means, it could be months till Australia finds relief.