Australia Wildfires Cause Destruction


Alina Anwar, Staff Writer

As the New Year ball dropped, one 2019 headline still flashed across everyone’s screens. The alarming fire that began in late December, on both sides of the Pacific Highway in Australia, now surrounded the whole continent. As of Jan. 20, 24 people are dead, and 40,000 square miles of land have burned. With pictures of injured koalas and dead kangaroos, the images couldn’t help but hit home and began to trend on social media sites, such as Twitter and Instagram.

There were several things that contributed to the fire, however, not all were results of human activities. In 2019 Australia was already enduring its hottest and driest year on record. The Australian summer made it easier for the fire to start and spread. Lightning strikes escalated the process more quickly than expected. However, human activities like arson, which is purposely lighting things on fire, did come into play. Though this is the case, it was not the main reason for the accident.

The devastating fires have brought suffering to the citizens and the wildlife that inhabit the island. According to NPR, along with the 24 deaths, over 2,000 homes were destroyed in Australia. Some expect more damage to occur since not all of the flames have been put out. About 90 percent of animals in Australia are native, so they cannot survive in other habitats. The animals have been forced to move out from their homes and find another place to live. Because of the situation, approximately 480 million animals have been affected, as reported by the BBC. Many people are now asking one important question: is there a way to protect the country and its inhabitants?

While those living in Australia are volunteering with the fire department to tackle the problem, people in other countries are helping as well. There has been over $60 million donated from around the world to help the country. Celebrities like Selena Gomez, a singer and actor, donated $5 million and Chris Hemsworth, an Australian actor, contributed $1 million. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has given $690,000.

If you’re interested in lending a hand, the Australian Red Cross is accepting donations to go toward the Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund. The money they receive is used to send staff to help relieve the destruction caused by the flames. Other things such as aiding the evacuation process can also be done through donations. To help the animal life, you can send money to any wildlife organization to provide clean water for koalas.

It doesn’t matter what you do to help, as long as you do something.