Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

'Everything Is Burning': Australian Inferno Continues, Choking off Access to Cities Across Country

Climate

By Eoin Higgins

Australia is on fire.

The country on Saturday saw delayed flights on the second day of a national state of emergency due to raging brushfires near every major city and choked-out smoke conditions.


Australian reporter Saffron Howden used a map from the Government of Western Australia to show how the blazes have ringed the entire continent.

"My god," Howden tweeted.

The fires in Australia's southeastern state of New South Wales (NSW) were at the "catastrophic" level on Saturday, according to the BBC.

"These fires are likely to continue to spread well past Christmas," said NSW rural fire services inspector Ben Shepherd.

Photos shared on social media showed hazy skies around the country.

"Everything is burning," said one Twitter user.

As Common Dreams reported Thursday, Australia just endured a heat wave that broke records for temperature in consecutive days.

"I think this is the single loudest alarm bell I've ever heard on global heating," said Kees van der Leun, a director at the American consultancy firm Navigant.

Temperatures dropped on the back of a cooling wind on Saturday, but, as The Guardian reported, the wind brings with it other problems:

A southerly change swept through at 5pm, making the fire even more erratic and changing the fire direction. Around this time, NSW authorities began warning of a bushfire-generated thunderstorm that had formed over Currowan and Tianjara fires in the Shoalhaven area, on the NSW south coast.
The fire service said this would lead to increasingly dangerous fire conditions. Such storms, known as pyroCB, can produce embers hot enough to spark new fires 30km from the main fire.

While his country was on fire, right-wing climate-denying Prime Minister Scott Morrison was on vacation in Hawaii. Morrison returned to Australia on Saturday after two firefighters died fighting one of three huge blazes near Sydney. Morrison's absence during the crisis provoked outcry from constituents.

One Twitter user posted a picture showing from above the blazes around Sydney as Morrison was arriving in the city, reportedly after circling for an hour due to runway closures.

A map of the city showed only two routes out of Sydney due to the fires.

"Today has been an awful day," NSW rural fire services commissioner Shane Fitzsimmon told reporters.

Fitzsimmon added that the fires were largely out of any meaningful control barring nature taking a hand.

"We will not get on top of these fires until we get some decent rain — we have said that for weeks and months," said Fitzsimmon.

According to Reuters, the Australian Bureau of Meterology has reported there will be no significant rainfall in the country for at least the next two months.

Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.

Kangaroos Flee Devastating Fires in Australia

A dugong, also called a sea cow, swims with golden pilot jacks near Marsa Alam, Egypt, Red Sea. Alexis Rosenfeld / Getty Images

In 2010, world leaders agreed to 20 targets to protect Earth's biodiversity over the next decade. By 2020, none of them had been met. Now, the question is whether the world can do any better once new targets are set during the meeting of the UN Convention on Biodiversity in Kunming, China later this year.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Jan. 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

By Andrew Rosenberg

The first 24 hours of the administration of President Joe Biden were filled not only with ceremony, but also with real action. Executive orders and other directives were quickly signed. More actions have followed. All consequential. Many provide a basis for not just undoing actions of the previous administration, but also making real advances in public policy to protect public health, safety, and the environment.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Melting ice forms a lake on free-floating ice jammed into the Ilulissat Icefjord during unseasonably warm weather on July 30, 2019 near Ilulissat, Greenland. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

A first-of-its-kind study has examined the satellite record to see how the climate crisis is impacting all of the planet's ice.

Read More Show Less
Probiotic rich foods. bit245 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Ana Maldonado-Contreras

Takeaways

  • Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria that are vital for keeping you healthy.
  • Some of these microbes help to regulate the immune system.
  • New research, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, shows the presence of certain bacteria in the gut may reveal which people are more vulnerable to a more severe case of COVID-19.

You may not know it, but you have an army of microbes living inside of you that are essential for fighting off threats, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
Michael Mann photo inset by Joshua Yospyn.

By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.

The New Climate War: the fight to take back our planet is the latest must-read book by leading climate change scientist and communicator Michael Mann of Penn State University.

Read More Show Less