Wildfires in Australia

Jordan Smith, Staff Writer

On the other side of the globe, much of Australia is consumed in flames, and the raging inferno shows no sign of stopping. 


Last year Australia recorded its hottest day on record after a heatwave swept the country mid-December, which followed the driest spring on record as well. Natural causes, such as lightning strikes, and humans share the blame. Over twenty people have been arrested for intentionally starting bushfires, and legal action has been taken against over one hundred people for fire-related offenses. 


As of now, over 15 million acres of land have been engulfed in flames, and over two thousand Australians have lost their homes. At least 24 people have died, some including rescue teams and firefighters trying to combat the flames. Recently, three US firefighters have died in a plane crash while battling wildfires in the southern region of New South Wales. Many species have fled their habitats for their lives, and according to Professor Chris Dickman, more than 480 million animals have been affected. In one of the regions most affected, New South Wales, one-third of the koala population have been heavily affected by the wildfires. 


However, the Aboriginal people in Australia have proposed a solution to the bushfires. The practice of ritual burning for fire prevention has been around for millennia. The Aboriginal people would set small scale fires to clear the land of debris, designed to lessen the impact when fires such as the current ones in Australia do hit. However, experts say that the practice needs much more investment in training before cultural burnings can be adopted for mainstream fire management.