Australian fire affects millions, including animals
The new year has not started on such a happy note for Australia where thousands have been displaced and millions of animals have been affected due to the raging bushfires. The Australian sky had turned red due to the fires. And though many fires were controlled, few are still going on and affecting the livelihood of thousands.
When did it start?
Bushfire is not a new phenomenon for Australia. But this year, it has done more damage than it does normally. A few fires erupted in New South Wales, Australia in November and rapidly spread across the entire continent to become some of the most devastating on record.
It is estimated that an area about twice the size of Belgium, roughly 15 million acres, has burned.
That’s almost seven times the amount of burnt area the Amazon experienced in 2019 and about three times the amount burnt in California’s 2018 wildfires.
At least 20 people died due to these fires, including at least three volunteer firefighters, and more are missing. More than 1,500 houses have been destroyed, hundreds more damaged.
Animals worst hit
Although there have been fires across all of Australia’s six states, New South Wales has suffered the worst.
It’s not sure but half a billion animals, including mammals, birds, and reptiles may have lost their lives in the blazes in New South Wales alone.
While many animals are hit by the bushfire, Australian authorities have decided to kill almost 10,000 camels as they are a burden to water-ridden country right now.
Koalas on the brink
It has also been said that eight thousand koalas, a third of all the koalas in New South Wales, have perished. About 30 percent of the koalas’ habitat has also been wiped out. The continent is home to 244 species, including the koala, that are not found anywhere else. The region also has the highest rate of native mammals becoming extinct over the past 200 years.
Ecologists have said that the life destruction by these fires cannot be compensated for at least 200 years!
The fires are so bad that the smoke has even reached New Zealand which is almost 1,600 km away. The New Zealand glaciers could be seen covered in fire ash and dust coming from Australia.
When would it stop
Firefighters and volunteers are working hard to control these blazes but Summer extends from December to February in Australia. And the fire season typically peaks in late January or early February. With another Summer month to go, the fires may continue to rage and destroy lives and properties.