PHOTO: The increased fire severity affects all seasons but in particular spring, which means that, on average, the bushfire season is starting earlier. (News Video)
Environment | Wildlife

2019 Australian Bushfire As a Case Study

Australia is currently in the middle of a grave catastrophe as the mainland has confronted the worst possible bushfires recorded in the history of the nation. It is crucial to study the 2019 Australian bushfire as a case study to determine what exactly happened in the region. Many animals, as well as people, have died along with the destruction of about 2000 homes.
Here’s a couple of things to know about the same.

Wildfire image
Wildfires are not new to Australia. But the intensity was higher in 2019.
credit: Ryan Northover, Sydney News & Life

The Beginning of the End

The occurrence of wildfires is common in Australia. And, this is why people often refer to this time as the ‘fire season’. But the recent bushfires have caused the burning of more than 6.3 million hectares of land. Ongoing since September 2019, the fires have affected several regions along the southern and eastern coasts. The affected regions include major cities like Sydney, Adelaide, and Melbourne. The worst affected of all is New South Wales. A disaster of such magnitude occurred for the first time in the region.

2019 Australian Bushfire: Causes and Concerns

2019 Australian bushfire, as a case study, aims to determine the possible reasons behind the wildfire. This can be the dry and hot Australian summer due to which it becomes easy for minor blazes to start and spread. Severe drought conditions prevailing in Australia are a major cause of the bushfire. A heatwave in December broke all prior records as nationwide average temperatures reached beyond 40 degrees Celsius. This aggravated the fires even more.
Other natural causes such as dry lightning and incidental sparks are also likely. Apart from this, a police statement of the New South Wales Police shows that they have charged about 20 people with setting things ablaze. Cases of arson make the situation graver.

Climate Change: A Major Cause?

There is an overwhelming consensus over the role of global warming in the Australian bushfires. Establishing a direct relationship between climate change and forest fires can be complex. However, deprivation of the global climate can also further intensifies and prolongs the negative impact created by wildfires (BBC, November 11, 2019). The Australian bushfire is no exception to the same. Studying the 2019 Australian bushfire as a case study shows that the country is 1 degree Celsius warmer than its average recorded temperature. The fire season has receded in recent years due to global warming, and thus, the ‘cumulative fire danger’ is increasing day by day.

The Impact of 2019 Australian Bushfire

The damages reported on account of the Australian bushfire are major. The fires have devastated large towns and residential properties in the mainland region. Also, New South Wales, which is the country’s most densely populated state, has suffered the greatest structural and financial damages. The NSW alone has around 4.9 million hectares of land burning in the catastrophe.

Recent reports say that about half a billion animals stand affected by the fires, including birds, reptiles, insects, and mammals. Ecologists say that numerous beings are likely to become extinct. The fire has wiped out huge numbers of region-specific species that live in more niche environments having lower populations.
Australian bushfire as a case study has revealed that the wildfire is far deadlier than the California bushfire, which garnered impressive global media coverage earlier in 2019. The so-called ‘mega-fire’ has reached an emergency level.

On a more general note, it is difficult to determine the exact impact of the bushfire until the fires come to a standstill. An investigation of the Australian bushfire as a case study requires a close comparison between previous research and new-found facts.

What is Australia Doing About It?

As the whole world is discussing the Australian bushfire disaster, the state and federal authorities in Australia are trying their best to end the catastrophe. Out of the people reported dead, many include firefighters and active volunteers risking their lives to douse the deadly flames. More than 2000 firefighters are at work in the NSW alone.

The federal government is utilizing military assistance like cruisers for firefighting while consequently making evacuation efforts. However, the government is under tough criticism as people say that it is ‘passing the buck’ on climate change. Blaming extraneous factors like land management instead of taking responsibility for the fires is not sensible to the public. 

2019 Australian Bushfire: A Lesson for the World? 

Perhaps the Australian bushfires create an alarming impact on the global audience. And, people tend to retrospect on the effects of climate change. People are also thinking about disaster management and its intricacies. The continuing negligence of governments towards the issue of global sustainable development has become evident this time. Another major catastrophe of the same year was the 2019 Nelson Bush Fires.

 

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