Wild-Fires Rage Across Australia

Ilsa Qureshi, reporter

Wildfires have been set ablaze throughout the southeast coast of Australia since Sept. of 2019, causing over 100,000 people to evacuate their homes. According to National Geographic, the fires were caused by lighting or possibly even human actions such as arson. Australia was experiencing its warmest year on record before the fires began. 

More than 14 million acres have been burned, 2000 homes have been destroyed, and 23 people have died while dozens are still missing. The risk of supply routes being cut caused police to encourage locals to evacuate.  The most affected states are Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia. The navy has evacuated people via ships leaving from New South Wales. While many humans have been affected, the fires have also taken a huge toll on the megadiverse country that harbours almost 7,000 different species. 

The figures tallying the mass death of Australian animals have spread around the internet, causing  grief according to Emily S. Rueb from the New York Times. From an ecological standpoint, the fires are quite devastating. According to The Washington Post, many forests have experienced irreversible damage. More than twenty-five thousand Koalas are feared dead, as well as 10,000 camels. Due to the extreme heat and destruction of habitats, many other species have also suffered. 

Recent rains have helped extinguish the fires but have also caused power shortages as well as road closures. Despite the rain, there are still nearly 100 blazes. The people of Australia welcome the rain but are angry and felt that the government did not provide full support and aid during the fires.

Citizens feel the country should create better policies toward climate change since the fires erupted. Prime Minister Scott Morison has faced criticism over how the fires were dealt with as well as his energy policies. Morison has called for a federal inquiry but has indicated that he will not reduce the country’s main export of coal, as it is essential to the economy, yet increases greenhouse gas emissions. 

“The suggestion that there’s any one emissions reduction policy or climate policy that has contributed directly to any of these fire events is just ridiculous,” Morrison said in a radio interview this month, “and the conflation of those two things, I think, has been very disappointing.”

The Emery community is very concerned for Australia and its wildlife. They are also hopeful that these recent events would urge Australian lawmakers to enforce better policies for climate change. “Australia is home to a large percent of marsupials so that means that if they all die we may be facing a future with less of these species which could have negative effects on the overall environment,” said Science Teacher Michell Law said. Many Emery students believed that the wildfires were a result of climate change. 

“It’s definitely because of climate change more extreme weather causes droughts and now they’re flooding. We are in a mini ice age sea levels are rising two inches a year,” Sophomore Daniel Chai said.