Billions on fire -

Billions on fire

Fires in Australia exterminate animals and threaten huge losses.

Billions on fire

More than a billion animals were destroyed by large-scale forest fires in Australia, which have been raging since last October. Moreover, frogs, insects and other invertebrates are not included in this number. Such shocking figures were cited by employees of the University of Sydney, who conducted a study. At the same time, the press service of the university warned: for their measurements, scientists used conservative estimates, and therefore the number of dead animals may exceed the indicated number.
The representative of WWF Australia, according to which a billion is just a "modest" estimate of the loss of Australian fauna, echoes university researchers. According to the latest data, in the state of New South Wales alone, fire has already destroyed 800 million animals.

Many representatives of rare species listed in the Red Book are at risk of population decline and even soon extinction. Scientists are especially worried about the brown-headed mourning cockatoo, spotted-tailed marsupial marten, long-legged sweat and, of course, koalas. Photos and videos of these animals, which firefighters and local residents daily take out of the fire with extensive burns and wounds, have become a kind of "calling card" of Australian fires.
Experts unanimously reiterate: even for the driest continent of the planet, this state of affairs is far from the norm. Australia burns annually, this is a fact, but last year, which, incidentally, turned out to be the hottest in the country in the history of observations, the fire season began much earlier than usual. And if before that just grass and other non-woody grass plants were burning, now moist tropical forests are also on fire.

Sydney and Canberra are covered in smog, and residents from different regions of the country post on social networks photos of a red, smoke-filled sky, signing: "This is the apocalypse." Dense smoke from burning Australia first colored brown glaciers in neighboring New Zealand, and then crossed the Pacific Ocean and reached the shores of South America.

Military and rescue workers evacuate residents from settlements in the states of New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria, which stand in the way of the advancing fire wall.

"We woke up in the morning and saw a black sky at dawn ... We grabbed the things we prepared last night and left for the evacuation center. The camp was quickly filled with 4,000 people. There were dogs, chicken and even a goat with them. There were cats in the cars. Who "He drove a pony along the coast. We spent Saturday preparing, as we were told, to jump into the ocean. Hundreds of people on tractors dug trenches on the beach to jump if fire came," said Mystery Bay, a resident of the Australian town in New South Wales.
A resident from Melbourne shared her memories of a direct “meeting” with the raging fires: “It was like in a dystopian movie: cars lined up for fuel, empty shelves in shops, power outages and no telecommunications ... We drove 12 hours right through the thick smoke to Canberra ... For the first time in 30 years I had to buy an inhaler. "

Many people, in their own words, prepared to leave their homes in advance, collecting backpacks with everything they needed. Many Australians found a "shelter" on the seashore, often watching from afar how their houses burn. To date, fires have already destroyed 8.4 million hectares of forest, more than three thousand residential buildings and 4 thousand administrative buildings across the country, 25 people have died, including three firefighters. Burning regions of Australia face a humanitarian crisis due to depleted fuel, food and water.

According to experts, the cause of the disaster is climate change and human activities detrimental to nature. Recall that Australia today accounts for 1.3 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, and according to the study, the environmental policy of its government, which actively protects the interests of the coal industry, is the worst in the world.
In addition, Australian fires would not have such large-scale consequences if the authorities understood the degree of threat in time, experts say. Indeed, from the first weeks, public organizations and climate experts demanded an audience with the prime minister in order to warn him about the unprecedented nature of what was happening. Even the firefighters, barely encountering the fire, said they could not help all the inhabitants of the country, and advised them to prepare to meet the elements themselves.

However, the prime minister and his cabinet remained deaf both to warnings and to requests to allocate funds to help volunteer firefighters, whose efforts, despite all the enthusiasm, were not enough. Referring to the fact that fires are commonplace for Australia, and there were always enough volunteer brigades to deal with them, the authorities urged excited citizens not to panic and refused to organize a centralized response to what was happening. As the prime minister has repeatedly stated, individual state governments can handle themselves on their own.
The Sydney enveloped smog forced its residents to take to the streets, demanding at least some help and action from the country's leadership. The Australian Prime Minister was also irritated by the Christmas trip to the Hawaiian Islands, while fires continued to rage in the country. The prime minister had to prematurely interrupt his vacation and apologize.

In the end, the federal authorities nevertheless decided to allocate $ 11 million to provide firefighters with special fire fighting aircraft, turned to the military for help and promised to allocate $ 1.4 billion to restore the affected settlements. However, even now, according to estimates, the economic damage from fires in the country could exceed $ 3 billion.

Source: Russian newspaper

10.01.2020 06:28:41
(Automatic translation)

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