Massive Fires Hit Australia Region

Photo courtesy of State Government of Victoria

By: Jordan Coll/Staff Writer


As wildfires envelop Australia with clouds of smoke the impact left on wildlife and residents is undeniably catastrophic. 

Having at least 24 human casualties, these forest fires have been responsible for destroying almost five million hectares of land destroying more than 1,300 houses according to New South Wales national park services.

Record-breaking temperatures have struck severe drought and heavy winds causing fires to spread rapidly all across the southeast region of Australia. 

“Data shows that Australia has warmed overall by slightly more than one degree 65 Celsius since 1910” according to the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology.

About 130 fires burned across the state on Jan. 6 resulting in the destruction of bushes, mountain forests and national parks. 

Many have debated about the connection climate change may possibly have when it comes to generating these massive fires. Several Australian climatologists have argued that major fire outbreaks such as these can contribute to serious human health and climate change issues.

Fires are not uncommon in Australia during the seasonal dry season being that they have had a history of extreme fires in the past. 

“Aboriginal hunters around 70,000 years ago have been cited as a cause for the demise of the Australian megafauna,” said Mireya Mayor director of exploration and science communication in FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences and Education.

With climate change being more and more of a common topic in the modern era, climatologists have argued that major fire outbreaks such as these have caused “plumes of black carbon” which traps heat causing a rise in global temperature.

The fires have been prolonged by 40 degrees Celsius and strong winds, making it difficult for thousands of firefighters deployed on the field. 

“Opinions seem to suggest an existing link between the overheating temperatures and fires happening in Australia,” said Mayor.

New South Wales, a state on the east coast of Australia had taken a major hit from the active fires spreading through the coast. These fires contribute to producing densely concentrated amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

These bushfires can create their own weather by developing clouds known as pyrocumulonibus clouds. Usually when elements such as wood, coal, natural gas, gasoline, and oil are burned carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.

Resulting in the trapping of ultraviolet light, causing the earth to gradually heat up, causing major fluctuations in the seasonal wind patterns and weather affecting the general climate. Which has been evident as “Australia’s annual mean temperature increases” according to the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology.

In the past and still, to this day people have set willingly set a property on fire, a criminal offense known as Arson. Australian police officers apprehended 24 people on the charges of performing arsonists acts.

But the growing body of scientific opinions seems to suggest that there is undoubtedly a link between the overheating global climate crisis and the fires seen happening in Australia” said Mireya.

Several groups have already started helping with donating money in aiding the ecological and resident life of Australians. The Australian Red Cross is open to accepting donations to its Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund, supporting 1,285 staff members and volunteers who have been placed in evacuation homes in more than 69 recovery centers.

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