Updated: Feb 26, 2020
Australia, one of the world’s largest countries, has been facing month-long fires which only seem to worsen. Specifically, New South Wales has seen great damage over the past two months and was forced to declare a state of emergency following more outbreaks of fires and an all-time high heat wave. With temperatures reaching nearly 107 degrees Fahrenheit and high winds, it’s clear that the fires will only spread. It has also been said that these prolonged fires are the worst the country has ever seen.
As a result, thousands have been forced to evacuate and the amount of tourists has decreased significantly, although some still have come to enjoy the country’s sights amid the dangerous fire conditions. Naval evacuations have been used as a precautionary measure, while some residents have fled to nearby beaches.
Over 20 human deaths have been reported from the fires. However, an estimated one billion animals have died, many of which being either koalas or kangaroos. Unfortunately, some suspect the fatalities to be even higher. Animals are being found with severe burns or even scorched alive. These animal deaths have reached such an extreme to a point where ecologists fear that entire species could be going extinct!
The Irwin family’s Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital has treated over 90,000 animals since the fires have begun and only seem to have more come in as time goes on. Although some patients have gotten better after receiving treatment, others have not been so lucky and have unfortunately passed away under the family's care.
People from the United States have also made efforts to help those affected by the destructive fires. Firefighters have helped control some of the fires, whereas civilians are making monetary donations and making others aware of what is going on in Australia. Locals have been helping animals out of the fires as well and giving them water because they are so dehydrated.
The Kensington Bird and Animal Hospital located in Berlin, Connecticut has been gathering
donations to give to those in Australia who are in desperate need of them. Some of these
donations include pillows, blankets, and sweaters. Helicopters have also been used by the
Australian government in order to drop thousands of pounds of food to feed the malnourished
Australians have been informed to wear masks to protect themselves from the poor air quality. The amount of smoke produced from these fires has been so grand that NASA has been able to see it from their space satellites. Although other nations have been supplying Australia with money to rebuild what has been damaged, the country will likely never be the same.
The effects of this ongoing tragedy show a brutal reality of a larger issue at play: climate
change. It is no question that climate change is occurring, with consideration to rising
temperatures and increased fire outbreaks. Defenseless animals are being burned alive,
humans are being forced out of their homes, and millions of acres of land have been completely destroyed. Humans and animals alike are suffering because of mankind's actions and even if we were to miraculously recover what Australia has lost, problems like this will only continue if humans don’t take a step back and reflect on how much we are hurting our own planet.