Australia bushfires incite reaction from students

Australia Wildfires
Courtesy of Noah Berger, San Francisco based Photographer

Australia is currently experiencing one of its worst fire seasons in history. Since
fires initially broke out before the start of Australia’s summer season this year, more than 17.9 million acres of land have burned, with fires now ranging nationwide. The effects of the bush fires have been declared devastating, affecting not only people and homes, but animal life as well.

According to CNN, 27 people have died in the fires that have burned more acres of land
than the Amazon Rainforest fires or the California wildfires of 2019. New South Wales and Victoria, the most populated states of Australia, have been the most affected by the fires. In New South Wales alone, 12.1 million acres of land have burned. “It’s really sad to think about and it kind of breaks my heart,” said freshman Kendall Berry.

”I’ve been seeing a bunch of videos about the koalas and it’s just so sad that so many of
them are dying.”

The size of these fires has also greatly affected Australia’s wildlife. According to the University of Sydney, more than a billion animals may have perished due to these fires.
According to The Washington Post, Australia’s bushfires could even result in extinction for animals such as the long footed potoroo, kangaroo, Island glossy black cockatoo, and
the dunnart. Many of these animals also face severe habitat loss.

The more well-known animals affected by the fires include koalas and kangaroos,
the wildlife staples of Australia. According to The Guardian, Australia’s environmental
Prime Minister has declared that up to 30 percent of koala habitat has been destroyed.
A CBS article published on January 7, 2020 detailing the ecological devastation of the fires stated that over 8,000 koalas have been estimated to be dead, making up one third
of the koala population in its primary habitat.

“It’s just heartbreaking hearing about all the wildlife that has been destroyed and
the lives that have been lost and are in danger,” junior Emily Sullivan said. “I feel for
Australia because we have sadly experienced our own wildfires here in California and know how destructive they are. ”

Fundraisers, social media awareness, donations, and large numbers of volunteer
firefighters are some of the many efforts being made to help Australia amidst these
destructive fires. Besides these large efforts, small groups of concerned individuals are
making their way to Australia in hopes of helping to save the wildlife at risk, such as
Brad Pattison and a team of volunteers from across Canada, as well as volunteer firefighters from California.

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