While the exact cause of the fire is not yet certain,183 people have been recently arrested under suspicion of arson, 24 of whom are suspected of intentionally setting fires, while the other 159 are facing less serious charges of not complying with Australia’s fire codes and misuse of cigarettes. According to Fox news, 150 fires are simultaneously active throughout much of the southern portion of the continent, though 64 such fires are relatively controlled. Currently, a swathe of land the size of South Korea is burned or burning. Thousands of people have been displaced and multiple people are dead. Billions of animals have also been killed or displaced from the destruction. The effects of the fire on the environment are so horrendous that according to the CNN website, the air quality has measured 11 times greater than what’s considered the “hazardous” level. Australia is also experiencing one of its worst droughts in years, making the situation even worse than expected. Contributions and donations have been and currently are flooding to Australia in bountiful supply to help with the situation, including from some prominent names, such as the CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos . Although the destruction is devastating, all is not lost. After Australian firefighters helped with the California fires, hundreds of firefighters and wildfire analysts from America as well as Canada decided it was time to return the favor and join the fight. They made the long flight to Sydney and were welcomed with cheers and applause. Many Californian firefighters volunteered even after their own state was ravaged by wildfires only a short time ago. Many of them are hoping that some of the techniques and methods employed in California will work just as well in Australia. With some help, hopefully this crisis will end soon.
For a more in-depth graphic about the size of the burning land, click here.
(Video Source: ABC News)