Australian Bushfire Season 2019-2020

Written by Kevin Cheng on . Posted in Announcements

Bushfire map 6 January 2020It is rare for me to not reasonably inform of current events. With the holiday season devoted to a renovation and a house move, I only stop to spend some precious moment with my family. It is much to my dismay and horror to realise the full extent of the devastation that Australia is facing.

Title image was taken from MyFireWatch showing all fires in Australia 0-12 hours old as at 12.30am on 6 January 2020.

Bushfires are a natural part of the Australian landscape. Many of our native flora and fauna have adapted to the specific fire regimes of the regions in which they live. Fire is essential for some species to propagate and renew. Traditional Owners and ongoing custodians of the land - the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people - have always been aware of this and has for thousands of years practiced fire management that reduces the likelihood of uncontrolled wildfires, at the same time protecting habitat for mammals, reptiles, insects and birds.

Just looking at the bushfire map of Victoria <http://emergency.vic.gov.au/respond/>, much of the places that I have fond memories of hiking through at a much younger age is either devastated or under threat. As of 5 January 2020, this current bushfire season has burned as estimated 6.3 million hectares (or 63,000 square kilometers of land), destroyed over 1,300 homes and a further 1,200 structures, and claimed the lives of 25 people. Additionally some half a BILLION wildlife killed.

Neil Kaye, Climate data scientist, created this staggering visualisation.

neilrkaye visualisation

Across the eastern seaboard, everyone knows someone who is affected in some ways. One member of the DRN family has found themselves evacuated from their homes and waiting to find out if they have a home to return to. I have many friends and their family in similar situations.

"White people" politics and blame aside, there are people who need help. Our firefighters are no doubt stretched thin and exhausted. I know a few people on the frontline and I hope they are safe. Families need essentials. It is heartening to see big companies doing their part, but now is the time to chip in any way we can.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, here is a link to the Sydney Morning Herald's summary of how we can all help. Thank you for taking the time to read this and please stay safe.

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