You may have heard of the recent bushfires in Australia. Since September 2019, common bushfires have been getting more destructive. The damage has already spread across 15.6 million acres, or 24,000 square miles. There are over 130 active fires, and 50 that are currently uncontrolled. In New South Wales, the fires have destroyed 1588 residentials and killed 19 people and 500 million animals. The blazes have also killed a third of the NSW Koala colony.
However, towns aren’t the only areas sustaining damage. Dunnarts are believed to have gone extinct because of the fire as well as half of Australia’s Koala population. “The fires have also been devastating for Australia’s wildlife and wild places, as vital areas of bush, forests, and parks have been scorched and many millions of animals killed or injured. Until the fires subside, the full extent of damage will remain unknown.” says Dr. Stuart Blanch, senior manager of land clearing and restoration with World Wildlife Fund-Australia.
As a result of the blaze, an estimated 350 million tons of carbon dioxide has been released into the atmosphere. With the slow regrowth rates of Australian forests, it could take 100 years to absorb the radiation from the bush fires. “We used to see hundreds of thousands of hectares burned in bushfires, but now we are seeing millions on fire,” Pep Canadell says, “It is drying in south-east Australia, that prompts the question if these trees will be able to bring all that carbon back [into regrowth]. We may need more than 100 years to get back to where we were after those mature forests with beautiful tall gum trees have burned.” He is a senior research scientist for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.
Since November 2019, New Zealand, USA, and Canada have been working to stop the fires from spreading. Australian actors Nicole Kidman and Chris Hemsworth are donating to the cause, as well as many other people worldwide. The Animal Rescue Craft Guild requested volunteers from the US, the UK, Hong Kong, France, and Germany to help the ongoing cause. They are contributing by making joey pouches, bat wraps, possum boxes, birds nests, koala mittens, and other crafts for Australian animals.
Recently, Australia has received the most rain in 20 years. The rain has put out 30 fires, some that have been burning for months. Increased rainfall has received a warm welcome from the people of Australia.