It could be months before Eastern Australia has more than a million hectares of bushfires under control. The New South Wales fire chief has warned the country is facing one of its worst bushfire outbreaks in history. According to Buzzfeed News, “at least six people have died and more than 300 homes have been destroyed in New South Wales as of Saturday, according to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service. Firefighters are also battling at least 60 fires across Queensland, while the Gospers Mountain Fire has burned nearly 400 square miles and destroyed at least six homes southwest of Sydney, according to the Guardian. They’ve burned more than 2.5 million acres on the country’s east coast.”
The National Weather Service has declared an unprecedented “catastrophic” rating for Sydney and surrounding regions. The NSW is warning that fires will spread in those conditions.
According to NewScientist.com, the damage is so monumental the pollution has made its way towards the Americas. They’re saying that “smoke particles from bushfires in Australia have reached South America. In a striking illustration of the intensity of the unprecedented blazes. Satellites show atmospheric pollution created by the fires across New South Wales and Queensland. This has travelled more than 10,000 kilometres to Chile and Argentina. Researchers at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts found a plume of carbon monoxide and aerosols trailing across the Pacific Ocean to South America.”
While Australia is feeling the effects of their devastating bushfire, cities all over the world are experiencing similar extreme weather. In Venice, horrible flooding is taking over city streets as large parts of central Venice are underwater again, as another exceptionally high tide inundated the Italian city. Three of the worst 10 floods since records began in Venice, nearly a hundred years ago, have now happened in a week, according to BBC News.
For months now, the Amazon jungle has been rapidly burning down due to deforestation, affecting air quality and ozone worldwide. According to Mashable, “it’s hell on earth for Brazil’s dense Amazon rainforest. A raging fire is spreading across trees and vegetation in an alarming rate, leaving heavy smoke and ashes in its wake.” The Amazon is widely considered the “lungs of the world”, and accounts for 20% of our Earth’s oxygen supply.
Keen to support the volunteers on the frontline? You can donate to your local Rural Fire Service by contacting your local brigade directly or heading here. The Australian Red Cross is also supporting communities affected by fires in NSW, QLD and SA. “Our specialist emergency volunteers are providing psychological first aid. They are working at evacuation centres and helping people to get in touch with their loved ones,” Red Cross says. You can donate to the Red Cross disaster relief and recovery appeal here.
There are also fears that over 300 koalas have perished in the Port Macquarie region of New South Wales. The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is accepting donations to develop and build watering stations for thirsty koalas on their GoFundMe page right here.