Australia is currently facing a crisis after the worst fire season in the entire history of the country. The New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Guardian report that fires have worsened because firefighters warned residents that they might have to leave several cities to be able to flee safely. University of Sydney ecologists estimate that nearly half a billion mammals, poultry and reptiles die from fires.
The danger of fire is increasing due to high winds, and this has caused mass evacuations and surprising social media posts, such as the following photos:
Although it looks very bleak, there are several ways you can help rescue and fire fighting efforts from the couch of your home. Let’s see how.
What is happening, and why?
There are a series of fires occurring in Australia today, mostly along the east and south coast, which are home to most kangaroo citizens. FOX reports that nearly six million hectares of forest and bushes are burning. As a reference, the Amazon rainforest fire in 2019 which shocked the world stretches around 930,000 hectares. Yup, it’s a crisis.
Australia, in general, does have a “fire season,” but this one is extremely brutal, and experts are very worried. The New York Times reported that fires were worse this year due to a combination of “record-breaking hot weather, drought, and strong wind conditions.” The Australian Government also confirmed that 2019 was the hottest and driest year in history. The Climate Council (an independent community-funded organization) also said that the condition of these forest fires worsened was more dangerous, and lasted longer due to climate change. Even if you don’t live in Australia, you might consider contacting officials in your area to discuss climate change in response to this incident.
This forest fire began in September 2019 but has worsened in the last few days, with experts warning that conditions will get worse. Now, dozens of people are missing, and at least 19 people have died as a result of this fire.
How can I help the fire department stop this crisis?
Because the fire spread rapidly, many volunteer firefighters in Australia acted and exceeded the number of official firefighters. Unfortunately, some reports say that they have worked for more than 100 days without compensation.
“The big problem with voluntary services is how long they can do it when the season lasts for weeks and months,” explains the South Fire (NSW) Rural Fire Service volunteer Peter Holding to ABC.
NSW Rural Fire Service now accepts donations through its site to help cover losses. Also, the NSW Rural Fire Service has set up a donation site for the families of Samuel McPaul, Geoffrey Keaton, and Andrew O’Dwyer, voluntary firefighters who died this season.
How can I help animals and wildlife in Australia?
Since ecologists estimate that half a billion animals have been killed, helping Australian wildlife that is still alive is a priority for everyone.
In situations like this, koalas are very risky because other Australian native animals such as kangaroos can move easily and quickly, in contrast to Koalas, that run slower. Therefore, koalas die in large numbers. According to Newsweek, in the New South Wales region, an estimated 8,000 koalas killed in this fire. And even the koalas that escaped were seriously injured.
The World Wildlife Fund organization is accepting donations for conservation efforts, with a special focus on koalas. The money you give can help with emergency koala care. Port Macquarie Koala Hospital also accepts donations through the GoFundMe website.
To help animals and other nature in general, including kangaroos, runaway pets, and native animals of Australia, here are a few options:
- RSPCA is starting a “forest fire request” to help protect pets and livestock from Australian fires, and you can contribute here.
- WIRES accepts donations which will be used to protect Australian native animals.