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

The sun shines over the Southern Ocean in Antarctica. Rebecca Yale / Moment / Getty Images Plus

Atmospheric researchers have pinpointed the spot on Earth with the cleanest air. It's not in the midst of a remote jungle, nor on a deserted tropical island. Instead, the cleanest air in the world is in the air above the frigid Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Brazil burnt, logged and bulldozed a third of the area lost, with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia placing second and third. Brasil2 / Getty Images

Satellite data collated for the World Resources Institute (WRI) showed primal rainforest was lost across 38,000 square kilometers (14,500 square miles) globally — ruining habitats and releasing carbon once locked in wood into the atmosphere.

Read More Show Less
People sit in circles to observe social distance in Domino Park amid the coronavirus pandemic on May 21, 2020 in New York City. New research says preventative measures such as social distancing and wearing face masks should not be relaxed as temperatures warm up. Alexi Rosenfeld / Getty Images

Researchers have found that warm temperatures in the U.S. this summer are unlikely to stop the coronavirus that causes the infectious disease COVID-19, according to a new study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Disease.

Read More Show Less
Protesters gather to protest the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota by police, on May 27, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The glaring numbers that show how disproportionately racial minorities have been affected by the coronavirus and by police brutality go hand-in-hand. The two are byproducts of systemic racism that has kept people of color marginalized and contributed to a public health crisis, according to three prominent medical organizations — the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and American College of Physicians, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
In a series of major wins for climate campaigners, New York regulators and Cuomo have repeatedly blocked construction of the $1 billion Williams Pipeline. Michael Brochstein / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

With the nation focused on the coronavirus pandemic and protests against U.S. police brutality that have sprung up across the globe, the Trump administration continues to quietly attack federal policies that protect public health and the environment to limit the legal burdens faced by planet-wrecking fossil fuel companies.

Read More Show Less
Photo credit: Black Birders Week seeks to highlight the experiences of Black scientists and nature lovers. Chad Springer / Image Source / Getty Images

A video of an incident in Central Park last Monday, in which a white woman named Amy Cooper called the cops on African American birder Christian Cooper after he asked her to put her dog on a leash, went viral last week, raising awareness of the racism Black people face for simply trying to enjoy nature.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Nationwide states struggle to recruit, hire and train game wardens. Jason Erickson / Getty Images

By Jodi Helmer

In Georgia there are just 213 game wardens to enforce state fish and wildlife laws, investigate violations, assist with conservation efforts and collect data on wildlife and ecological changes across 16,000 miles of rivers and 37 million acres of public and private lands. Statewide 46 counties have no designated game warden at all. The shortage could lead to wildlife crimes going undetected.

Read More Show Less