After experiencing one of its worst droughts in decades, the Australian wildfire has already burned through 18 million acres of land, making it one of the largest wildfires the world has ever seen. (I believe the largest on record is the 1987 Black Dragon Fire in China / Russia).
No one knows exactly how the fires started but the best speculation I’ve seen is that because of the dryness from the drought a lightning strike began the blaze. So far it’s killed almost thirty people (including several volunteer firefighters), burned several thousands of people out of their homes and killed almost one billion animals. The devastation to the animal population is so extreme it might wipe entire species out and hasten the endangered koala into extinction.
An aerial view of the wildfires East Gippsland on January 2, 2020. Dale Appleton/DELWP via AP
Smoke from the Australian wildfires is pumping horrible amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and created a smoke plume above Australia almost as large as the United States. Which, is kind of terrifying to comprehend. Thankfully, cooler temperatures and mild winds are helping Australian firefighters finally get ahead of the blaze. From an AP story speaking with Dale McLeon who is one of the fire response managers on a team bulldozing small trees and burning scrub ahead of the fire’s path, in hopes to stop it from spreading:
“This fire took a major run about seven or eight days ago, and with the weather changing now, the weather settling down, the fire has settled down. The fire behavior has changed. So we're able to get in front of the fire now, get on the offensive.”
But the fire fight is far from over and the Australian blaze will continue to burn for months, so, we’ve yet to even understand the full scope of damage and the cost of human & animal life. With that in mind, I’ve found a few legitimate links in ways you can help: