If you have any form of social media, you may be aware of the ongoing bushfires consuming most of Australia. The continent faces problems with wildfires each year, but in 2019, the season started much earlier than usual. There has been a ton of damage to Australian wildlife and still the fires rage on.
Critics have resorted to blaming their opposing party for the intensity of the recent fires. According to theguardian.com, critics have said much of this environmental devastation is due to “a conspiracy by environmentalists to ‘lock up’ national parks and prevent hazard reduction activities such as prescribed burning and clearing of the forest floor.” These political accusations have been causing division within Australia’s political parties for quite some time now and tend to resurface with each resurgence of fire.
Some critics accuse the Greens (Australia’s third largest political party) of adding to the problem by speaking out against the scheduled burning of old brush as well as clearing trees to prevent the spread of fire. The Greens reject these accusations and maintain that all they want is a sustainable strategy for fuel-reduction management that does not harm all of the wildlife in the area.
While it can not be said for sure whether a lack of fuel-reduction management is a contributing factor in the ongoing blaze, it is widely believed that climate change is a major factor in the early start to this year’s season, in addition to the intensity of the fires. These fires began in the midst of Australia’s hottest year on record. A study done in 2018 found the extreme temperatures seen last year were four times more likely because of climate change.
The United States and other countries have acknowledged the seriousness of the fires in Australia and have reportedly begun sending veteran firefighters to help try and put an end to the incessant flames. These foreign firefighters and native Australians are working hard to minimize the damage done to homes and wildlife, but it is too much for them to do on their own.
Australia is burning and there is no easy end in sight. Photos have emerged of burned animals and devastated neighborhoods that are deeply upsetting and extremely alarming. If you are looking for a way to help consider donating to one of many funds to put out the fires, or simply share what is happening on social media to bring awareness to the deadly bushfires.