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Wildfires continue to wreak havoc on Australia coast

by Brianna Bush - Editor-in-Chief
Thu, Feb 6th 2020 05:00 pm
Over the last few months, Australia's ecosystem has been engulfed in flames causing many to come forward and ask for change from the government.
Over the last few months, Australia's ecosystem has been engulfed in flames causing many to come forward and ask for change from the government.

Over the last few months, Australia has been ravaged by wildfires. These fires have not only laid waste to the land, but the animals that inhabit it. Australia recently caught a swift break when rain came during the week of the Australia Open, but the fires are continuing to rage on near Australian Capital Territory (ACT). 

“At 6 a.m., 63 bush and grass fires are burning in NSW [New South Wales], 25 still to be contained,” @NSWRFS tweeted on Saturday, Feb. 1. “Three fires remain at the Watch and Act alert level. Crews have worked tirelessly overnight to protect homes and slow the spread of fire, which they will continue to do today with favourable weather.” 

The fires are said to be caused by a combination of extreme heat, strong winds and extended drought. Many believe because of those strong winds, the fire is able to spread farther at an accelerated rate — this is causing panic for both residents and wildlife in the affected areas. 

Many believe that climate change is to blame for the heat, wind and drought. There have been multiple protests since the beginning of the fires, calling for the government to recognize and fix the problem. 

People have recently been going after celebrities and other people that are known to have copious amounts of money, to donate as much as they can in effort to combat the fires. Kylie Jenner was one to donate $1 million, after fans and supporters urged her to. 

There are some problems surrounding celebrities and their donations, many were met with criticism due to the amount they donated, or lack thereof. 

“Jenner donated $1 million, but only after fans called her out for an insensitive post of her donning Louis Vuitton real mink fur slippers,” Style Magazine stated. “Fans were outraged by her hypocrisy, calling Jenner tone deaf for posting earlier how she was devastated by the loss of Australia’s wildlife.” 

Fans later called Jenner out after creating a theme park modeled after her 2-year-old daughter Stormi. They called her insensitive for spending millions on a toddler, rather than helping a national crisis. 

BBC stated, animals are not only dying because of the fires, but their habitats are being destroyed. Fortunately, in spaces where the fires have ceased, vegetation is visible — growing up from the ash. 

Unfortunately, not every living thing will be getting its second chance — many species are reaching a point of no return. 

“We’re not just talking about koalas — we’re talking mammals, birds, plants, fungi, insects, other invertebrates, amphibians and bacteria and microorganisms that are critical to these systems,” Manu Saunders, a research fellow and insect ecologist at the University of New England in Armidale, said to The Washington Post. 

Areas that are located outside the fires are also affected. Ash, soot and other chemicals are reaching farms and residential areas — livestock and produce are dying because of the residue. 

One farmer, Stephen Shipton, lost 50 cows, some he had to put down — others died because of factors from the fire. 

“We’ve lost a third of our herd,” Shipton said to The Post. “They’re still dying. They’re just getting sick and other things at this point.” 

Many felt that they needed to donate anything they could to help the animals affected by the fires, but rescuers are urging people to stop sending them pouches and other bags used to hold the orphaned animals — they have a surplus. 

If you feel the need to donate or contribute to the cause, you can go to donate.wwf.org.au. 

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