UPDATE: All profits from the TGR Shop is being donated to Australia Fire Relief from today to Thursday at Midnight
Bushfires are nothing new for Australia, but the intensity of this year’s wildfire season—which has only begun—is unprecedented. Parts of Australia have been ablaze since September, and this week the situation took a turn for the worse. There are currently 136 fires spread across the country, and only 69 of them are contained. The situation has become so dire that the government has declared mandatory evacuations and deployed military personnel to aid the firefighting efforts.
2019 proved to be the country’s driest and hottest year on record, which has only exacerbated the infernos. According to CNN, at this point, millions of acres have burned, 20 people have died, and half a billion of animals were killed. Australia is in need of a serious hand, and here’s what you need to know and how to help.
Fires are currently raging in every Australian state:
Impressive Himawari rapid scan animation showing smoke from the NSW & VIC fires heading east into the Tasman Sea. The images are 2.5 minutes apart capturing more detail. Notice the afternoon thunderstorms over NSW. Read about Himawari satellite at https://t.co/sTvIw7xdKl pic.twitter.com/swU1dlYl4e— Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) January 4, 2020
The worst blazes are in New South Wales (NSW) and in Victoria, particularly the Gospers Mountains fires, which have burned about 15 million acres of land. To put that in perspective, it’s a fire seven times bigger than what was burned in the Amazon in 2019.
The fire is affecting more than Australia:
Dust and ash from the flames are traveling across the ocean and depositing nearly 1200 miles away. Additionally, the fire has released about 350 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Scientists fear that it will take at least a century to absorb the new surge of greenhouse gas.
This glacier is in New Zealand, approx. 2000km away from Sydney. Unreal. https://t.co/aPkOBHvoNh— jackson ryan (@dctrjack) January 1, 2020
It's created a crisis for thousands of Australians:
Communities are being displaced all throughout Australia. In Mallacoota, a popular tourist destination near Victoria, 4,000 people fled to the nearby lake to escape the flames. Meanwhile, just in NSW, more than 1,300 houses have been wiped out.
This is Mallacoota in Australia— Edward Hardy (@EdwardTHardy) January 2, 2020
The entire city is surrounded by flames
This is what the world will look like if we don't tackle climate change pic.twitter.com/JarYiSjVet
Fire is the new normal:
The perception of climate change has been often limited to a polar bear on a dwindling iceberg, but the situation is much more than melting snow and rising oceans. Climate change isn’t what’s causing these fires, but it’s what is allowing to become so catastrophic. Summer has changed and its byproducts—record-breaking heat, drought, drier grasslands, forests, and soils—only spur more intense wildfires.
What is happening in Australia eerily echos other intense bouts of wildfires we've seen in the last decade. In 2018, in the midst of already intense fire season for California, a fast-moving and unexpected inferno swallowed up the town of Paradise, killing 85 people and obliterating homes and businesses. That same year, British Columbia was also ravaged by wildfires that burned 1.3 million hectares of land. Nearby cities in the Northwest—Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland—struggled with dismal air quality from all the smoke. Instead of rain, ash and debris fell from the sky leaving the area in an apocalyptic haze. These scenarios will continue to persist if climate change isn't seriously addressed.
Want to help? Here are a few resources:
Spread awareness: Reach out to your elected officials to express your concerns about climate change. More info here for US citizens.
Get involved: Protect Our Winters has the resources you need to take action in the fight for a carbon-neutral future. Learn more here.
At approximately 10:30AM PST this morning, January 17th, 2020, an avalanche occurred near the Subway run at Alpine Meadows Ski Resort near Lake Tahoe, CA. The Placer County Sheriff's Office has announced that one man was killed in the slide, and another was seriously injured. RELATED: Watch a Massive Skier-Triggered Slide on Taylor MountainSearch has been stopped. We believe all victims have been recovered at #AlpineMeadows. pic.twitter.com/gZCBSj8iu2 — Placer Sheriff (@PlacerSheriff)
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