Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

'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

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A mostly empty 110 freeway toward downtown Los Angeles, California on April 28, 2020. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The shelter in place orders that brought clean skies to some of the world's most polluted cities and saw greenhouse gas emissions plummet were just a temporary relief that provided an illusory benefit to the long-term consequences of the climate crisis. According to new research, the COVID-19 lockdowns will have a "neglible" impact on global warming, as Newshub in New Zealand reported.

Read More Show Less
Centrosaurus apertus was a plant-eating, single-horned dinosaur that lived 76 to 77 million years ago. Sergey Krasovskiy / Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

Scientists have discovered and diagnosed the first instance of malignant cancer in a dinosaur, and they did so by using modern medical techniques. They published their results earlier this week in The Lancet Oncology.

Read More Show Less
Parks keep people happy in times of global crisis, economic shutdown and public anger. NPS

By Joe Roman and Taylor Ricketts

The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is the deepest and longest period of malaise in a dozen years. Our colleagues at the University of Vermont have concluded this by analyzing posts on Twitter. The Vermont Complex Systems Center studies 50 million tweets a day, scoring the "happiness" of people's words to monitor the national mood. That mood today is at its lowest point since 2008 when they started this project.

Read More Show Less
The ubiquity of guns and bullets poses environmental risks. Contaminants in bullets include lead, copper, zinc, antimony and mercury. gorancakmazovic / iStock / Getty Images Plus

New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that she will attempt to dismantle the National Rifle Association (NRA), arguing that years of corruption and mismanagement warrant the dissolution of the activist organization, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Bystanders watch the MV Wakashio bulk carrier from which oil is leaking near Blue Bay Marine Park in southeast Mauritius, on August 6, 2020. Photo by Dev Ramkhelawon / L'Express Maurice / AFP / Getty Images

The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, renowned for its coral reefs, is facing an unprecedented ecological catastrophe after a tanker ran aground offshore and began leaking oil.

Read More Show Less
A mural honors the medics fighting COVID-19 in Australia, where cases are once again rising, taken on April 22, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Robert Cianflone / Getty Images

By Gianna-Carina Grün

While the first countries are easing their lockdowns, others are reporting more and more new cases every day. Data for the global picture shows the pandemic is far from over. DW has the latest statistics.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Hannah Watters wrote on Twitter that she was suspended for posting a video and photo of crowded hallways at her high school. hannah @ihateiceman

As the debate over how and if to safely reopen schools in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic continues, two student whistleblowers have been caught in the crosshairs.

Read More Show Less