Here’s What You Need To Know About the Australian Fires

Australia has been on fire since the beginning of the year, and the natural disaster is just now receiving social media attention. How do these fires affect us all the way in Seattle, and why should we care?

Julia Stander, Editor in Chief

The whole continent of Australia is practically in a blaze, with long lasting fires in every Australian state, but mostly heavily in the New South Wales. The length of the fires varies, some lasting only a few days, but others burning for weeks on end. 

These fires are so worrisome because this is the most intense fire season the country has seen in deacades. These fires can be attributed to the worst drought in Australia in decades. Not only are they in a drought, but they are experiencing some of the highest temperatures ever, up to  120 degrees Fahrenheit. Not only are the temperatures extremely hot and the ground dry, strong winds have also played a part. These three combined are a recipe for a natural disaster. 

Why does this concern Seattle-lites, though?

Other than the fact that 27 people have died, half a billion animals are gone as well. This is worrisome, because our ecosystems are already dying due to global warming and other anthropocentric reasons. 

The fires can also cause world problems involving the climate. According to Forbes, the fires can alter weather patterns all around the globe. Because it is such a large heat source, wind patterns are warming up and traveling across the ocean, therefore warming other parts of the world. The wind has also carried smoke to other parts of Australia. According to CNN, in December, the air quality in Sydney was measuring 11 times the hazardous level. 

Students at Blanchet are starting to take notice, though. Our swim team is selling treats at both lunches to raise money for ending the wildfires. Captain of the boy’s swim team, Ben Ryan, endorses their actions. 

“The wildfires are a large concern, and its barely getting any attention,” says Ryan. “Raising money is a small part we can do to contribute to a greater cause.” 

You can also donate to The Red Cross, if you missed the treats at lunch. So far over $100 million has been raised, but that’s not nearly enough to solve this problem. The damage caused by the fires have been estimated to be about $4.4 billion, and still growing.

Smoke Covering Eastern Australia

Intense winds coming off of the ocean are picking up smoke from the fires, creating air pollution across the continent.