If you don't know about the Australian wildfires, you should.
But truly, there is no way that you haven't heard about them because of the expansiveness of the fires and the amount of damage and death they have already caused.
Living in the United States and hearing about natural disasters in other portions of the world makes it hard to grasp the severity of a situation, but one man set out on Twitter to make it easy to understand just how serious the fires in Australia are and how dire the situation is.
Bodie Ashton took to Twitter in hopes of making it apparent that Australia is literally burning up. And hundreds of thousands of retweets later, his hope of educating the world on the Aussie Wildfires is coming to fruiting one Tweet at a time.
Here's How Serious the Fires Are in Australia:
More land is currently burning in Australia than that of the entire country of Belgium. The smoke coming off of Australia is causing extreme breathing problems in New Zealand, 2,000 km away. Half a billion animals are feared dead and numerous people have died.
One-seventh of the state of Victoria is on fire. The fire front in the state of New South Wales (NSW) is so long that, if you made it a straight line, it would stretch from Sydney to Afghanistan. The fires are being fought by volunteers.
The Australian government has yet to discuss the fact that the NSW fires have now been burning for three months, and will still be burning in three months. Many of the volunteer firefighters are unemployed; their benefits have been suspended because, while they’re saving people and habitats and homes, they can’t apply for the requisite number of jobs per week the government expects them to continue receiving benefits.
Also, while the entire country faced catastrophic fire warnings, the cities all had fireworks displays. One, in Adelaide, very unsurprisingly caused a (thankfully limited) brush fire. Millions were spent on these. But not to pay the firefighters.
It's true that Australia has bushfires every year, but the sheer scale of this event is unprecedented, as well as the fact that the fire season is now so long that typical preventative initiatives, such as backburning, are far too dangerous.
The devastation in Australia right now FAR exceeds the Amazon fires or the California fires by MANY ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE, and there is no expectation that it will recede for at least several more months. In parts of Sydney, breathing the air is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes.
Public buildings have been forced to close in Sydney and the capital, Canberra, because the smoke is concentrating on the ventilation systems and setting off building fire systems.
The average temperature across the entire country has been above 40 degrees C (105 degrees F). Australia is roughly the size of the continental United States. Imagine it being that temperature on average ANYWHERE in the country, from Denver to Boston, Seattle to New York. And that firefront? Imagine an unbroken line of fire, stretching from New York to Los Angeles, then back to New York, then heading back to Los Angeles and getting at least as far as Indiana. That’s the firefront in JUST ONE STATE of Australia.
I want to give some perspective for people not from Australia.— Bodie Ashton (@manwithoutatan) January 1, 2020
More Aussie land is currently burning than exists in the entire country of Belgium. The smoke is causing breathing problems in New Zealand, 2,000km away. Half a billion animals have been killed. Eight people are dead.
Ecologists at the University of Sydney now estimate that nearly half a billion animals and plants have been wiped out since the fires began several months ago. Approximately 480 million mammals, birds, and reptiles have been lost since the fires intensified in September, the university said in a statement, but the actual number is likely to be substantially higher. Koalas, which were already under threat due to significant habitat loss, have been hit particularly hard. Ecologists said nearly 8,000 koalas—about one-third of the population in their primary habitat—are believed to have died since the fires began.
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