Last year in July, the fire season of Australia began, and since, can only be described as a mega blaze. Currently, there are still over 100 fires burning in New South Wales (NSW), with over 3,000 homes and buildings destroyed or damaged and a total of 28 casualties. With Australia being only halfway through its summer season, coupled with the country’s worst drought in decades and less than 11 inches of rain in 2019, the fires aren’t anywhere near coming to an end.
Humans can also be to blame. NSW police have charged at least 24 people with deliberately starting bushfires, and have taken legal action against 183 people for fire-related offenses since November.
However, the 24 were the only real offenders. The 183 were charged due to failure to comply with fire safety laws. This includes leaving a campfire lit or smoking in places that smoking isn’t allowed. Even with the numerous number of perpetrators who started fires in one way or another, most of the fires were due to the drought or an increase in fire risk due to global warming.
In total, more than 17.9 million acres have been burned across Australia's six states. Out of all the burned land, a third of the koala habitat burned down and another third of the koala population of NSW was killed in the fires.
Ways to help those affected by wildfires range from donating to Australian firefighting services to donating to the Australian Red Cross. Another notable services is GIVIT, an Australian organization that matches donated goods with items that are specifically being requested by victims of the fires, like car batteries and gas pumps.
With the fires continuing to rage on, the people of Australia are faced with a monumental problem that if not dealt with properly and efficiently, will end poorly for everyone, Australian or not.