Australia is struggling with an unprecedented level of bushfire for months and the fire still indicates to blaze continuously.
What happened in Australia?
It is a common threat for Australia to have severe bush fires during summer and autumn. Australia has always experienced exacerbating fire but the dreadful fire of this year is extreme than usual. It has already burned about 12.35 million acres of land. The elongated drought and record breaking temperature incited the heavy fire in September 2019 from various regions of New South Wales making it a worst and hardest hit till present. The fire burned its 30% of the forest and more land than any other flames from the past. Sydney too engulfed in flames for the first time on 12 November, 2019. The ashes from the fire has spread over 2500 miles and covered most of the cities densely. The heat from the bushfires have been creating smoke-infused thunderstorms. And these storms are expected to create their own new fires, vicious weather and tornadoes. The air was measured 20 times above the hazardous level in some regions of the country making difficult to breathe. Fire in every Australian state and territory ravaged more than 2500 buildings leaving thousands of citizen homeless with death of at least 25 people. It was estimated to be the loss of about 480 million mammals, birds and reptiles. Wildlife habitat is devastated and the fear of entire species being wiped out is immense as fire continues to burn. Almost 2500 fire-fighters are in the field along with the fire-fighters from New Zealand, Canada and United States to help combat the brutal situation of Australia.
What caused the fires?
Bushfire occurrence usually depends upon the type and quantity of available fuel, steepness of the slope, fuel moisture, intensity and speed of wind that can spread the fire by lifting burning ashes into the air, low humidity and high temperature. The climate of Australia is generally dry and hot and there is a fire season each year. So, Australia is well cognizant about bushfire and its management as Australia is prone to bushfire at any time of the year. Australians have experienced major firestorms before as well which caused massive loss of life. However, 2019–20 is stated to be unprecedented. There have been plethora of reasons in the blazing of fire as per the initial incidents. But according to some of the scientists, man-made global warming did play a significant role to cause the fire, making the country’s fire season lengthy. The bushfires are also fueled by unpredictable increase in temperature and dry lightning in drought affected forests. In late December, the bushfire began in Victoria’s East Gippsland region due to dry lightning. The lack of rain and low soil moisture also assisted in growing the size of fire. Whereas, 183 people were legally punished and charged 24 people for setting fires deliberately over a six week period in November. One among them was 19 year old volunteer fire-fighter as well. It was stated that 50% of bushfires were lit by them in the beginning.
When will this end?
The temperature of Australia hikes mostly in January and February but unfortunately the brush fire created huge destruction since the fire season began in late July. However, the sudden falling of rain recently in the east coast assisted in dropping the temperature. But the temperature is expected to rise again and there might be reconciling of Victoria and New South Wales fires which can lead to mega fire. Thus, it is not guaranteed for the complete cessation of this deadly wildfire any sooner.
Image: A juvenile kangaroo was caught in a fence trying to escape. Picture: Brad Fleet Source: News Corp Australia