Have you ever been to West Virginia? West Virginia has an area of roughly 15 million acres. In Australia, 18 million acres of land have been burned. That means that an area bigger than the whole state of West Virginia has gone up in flames in Australia. Thousands of homes have burned, about 30 human lives have been lost, and close to a billion animals have died. Australia’s landscape is changed forever and the cost is in the billions. This year’s Australian Wildfires are one of the most devastating fires that Australia has ever encountered in its history.
According to AP News, 25,000 square miles have been burned mostly in Victoria and New South Wales, the most populated areas in the country. These areas are located in the Southern and Southeastern parts of Australia. However, there are plenty of other fires occurring all over the continent of Australia. The fires were caused mainly by the hot, dry and windy weather. Roughly 2,000 homes have been burned down. 1 billion animals have died due to the fires as well. On Kangaroo Island itself, an island just off the coast of Australia, about 25,000 koalas have died which is half of the whole koala population on Kangaroo Island.
Since there have been various losses that Australia has experienced during this wildfire, Australia has a pretty expensive repair cost to fix all of their casualties. According to ACCU Weather, the cost of repair is now exceeding a price of $100 billion. This cost includes damage to homes and businesses, job and wage losses, school closures and the cost of power outages, destruction to wildlife, and countless other reasons. Many people are helping people that have been affected by the fires such as The Australian Red Cross sending 1,285 staff members to provide support to displaced people sheltering in about 70 evacuation and recovery centers. Also, the Salvation Army is donating a large amount of money towards the repair.
Although this wildfire is one of the most deadly wildfires Australia has ever experienced, it is not the worst wildfire ever in Australia. The worst wildfire in Australia occurred in 2009. The fire caused 173 deaths and 2,000 homes lost. The time in between the wildfires in Australia has drastically decreased. According to The Conversation, the deadliest bushfires in the past 200 years took place in 1851, 1939, 1983, 2009, and 2019-2020. The time over the 2 most recent deadly bushfires in Australia has decreased by 16 years compared to wildfires before.
To sum up Australia’s Wildfires in 2019, the repair cost will most likely take a long time to pay, but the ways that people are supporting the people affected by the wildfires are outstanding. Since the time between the occurrence of wildfires in Australia is decreasing, I wonder if and when there will be another wildfire in Australia and how bad would it be?
Story by Tate Lloyd