Australia has been devastated by some of the worst bushfires recorded in history. Thick fire and hundreds of kilometres of thick ash have been traveling all through native bushland, wooded areas, and national parks like the Blue Mountains. Some of Australia’s largest cities have also been affected, including Melbourne and Sydney.
Fires have damaged homes taken lives, ruined houses, wiped out wildlife and created dangerous levels of air even in the middle of Sydney and Melbourne. The air was so hazardous and toxic in Melbourne recently that it has affected the capacity for tennis players to compete in the Australian Open.
While the issues this has caused for the Australian Open are significant for tourism, players, event organisers, and the international media – these issues pale in comparison with the damage this has caused for so many Australians.
At this stage, at least 28 people have died nationwide, and in the state of New South Wales (NSW) alone, more than 3,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged. It is estimated that over one billion animals have died at the wrath of some of these infernos of fire and smoke. This includes the iconic koalas, kangaroos, emus, and other native species. Australia’s environment minister (Sussan Ley) speculates that the magnitude of deaths in the Koala population will likely put them on the endangered list in the aftermath of this bushfire season.
Authorities and the local fire departments are struggling to contain the massive blazes, even with firefighting assistance from other countries, including the United States.
Eager assistance is being provided by Australian and International tradespeople and people from around the globe are rallying to assist with financial and physical support. Tens of thousands of Australians are battling the ravaging fires that have been sweeping through the country.
The fires have been exacerbated by persistent heat and drought, and many points to climate change as a factor making natural disasters go from bad to worse. While there has been evidence of arsonists at work, it is surely an angry Mother Nature that is being looked to for the cause of this catastrophe.
The fires have affected every Australian state but it is New South Wales that has been hardest hit. Recent estimates indicate there are still 100 individual fires ablaze in NSW and these range from small and manageable fires to massive infernos that are seemingly out of control. Some of these fires have been burning since the beginning of the ‘fire season’ in September 2019.
The air quality in Melbourne and Sydney dropped to levels that place them in the “worst in the world” overnight. This is largely because ash and smoke from the fires combined with cooler temperatures brought particles closer to the ground. Making the air denser with smoke and toxic air, a senior state health official said. Many of the residents in NSW, Victoria and South Australia were advised to stay indoors, bring pets inside and keep windows closed.
“This has been an ecological disaster, a disaster that is still unfolding,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said upon announcing the national emergency funds that will be distributed.
It has only been in the past few days that Authorities are claiming to have the upper-hand on the bushfires. The word ‘containment’ seems to be frequently used by experts in the field. In the coming few weeks, the exhausted firefighters and all of the volunteers and residents of the affected areas will ideally be able to rest. Sadly, in this time of rest it will also be a time to reflect on the devastation and how to rebuild lives on a bed of ash.
This will continue to be a testing time for Australians who are renowned to be a resilient and strong people.
Bali Scuba is owned by two proud Australians and are contributing their personal funds to various charities on a personal level. Bali Scuba will be donating $10 AUD for every booking we receive between January and the end of February 2020.