Pierce Pioneer

Bushfires Rage in Australia

Abri Wilson / Staff Illustrator

Firefighters from around the world join Australian firefighters in a battle against a series of Bushfires threatening the lives of Australians and Wildlife

Over thirty people have been killed in the Australian bushfires since September 2019, affecting the entire country. The states of New South Wales and Queensland officially declared a state of emergency, with other countries, including the United States, Canada, and New Zealand, having sent firefighters and military personnel to help control these fires.

Bushfires are not new to Australia. However, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, they are becoming more frequent, especially in New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania. “A century ago, such conflagrations hit Victoria every 15 years. Since 2000 that interval has shrunk to between one and five years.”

These fires have slowly begun to subside, though their effects on the environment remain at risk. People are working to help the animals, with rescue workers, civilians, and even trained dogs helping wildlife affected by the fires.

There are organizations providing support for the animals. WIRES, the RSPCA, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital have been taking monetary donations for the cause. Supplies can also be sent to the Brisbane-based Rescue Collective or the Animal Rescue Collective Craft Guild.

Organizations that are assisting with the firefighting, rescue, and relief efforts are also in need of support. Donations can be made to the Australian Red Cross, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, or one of the Australian fire services in the states affected.

So what caused these fires? That is a complex answer since there are multiple, separate bushfires.

Arson is one contributing factor. Newsweek reports that 24 people have been charged with arson as of Jan. 7. Police have taken action against people who weren’t complying with a total fire ban.

Another factor is the conditions in Australia. Newsweek states, “Unseasonably high temperatures and drought over the last three months have contributed to the conditions that have allowed the fires to proliferate.”

As the weather gets warmer in Australia, especially around summer, the plant life becomes drier, creating more fuel for fires. Lightning is also a weather-based factor, responsible for a number of fires in Victoria.

Professor Beth Norman, who teaches Environmental Science and Environmental Geology at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, said that windy conditions are causing the fires to spread faster. “It’s differences in pressure that actually drive the wind,” said Norman. “So, if you’ve got bigger differences in pressure between one area and another, that means you have stronger winds; and the stronger the wind is, the worse the fires tend to be.”

Tyler’s Tea – Episode 1 – BushFire

Tyler talks about the Australian Bushfire with guest Jesus Contreras.

Host: Tyler Grover

Guest: Jesus Contreras

Editor: Quintin Mattson-Hayward

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