Deadly wildfires are raging across Australia. While there are bushfires in all six Australian states, New South Wales and, to a lesser extent, Victoria, have borne the brunt of them. Thirty people have confirmed killed in the fires. Potentially thousands of animals have also killed.
The Australian government is actively trying to control the situation. However, much of the on-ground resistance against the bushfires have come from volunteer firefighters who are risking life and limb in the countryside. International support has poured in, with many nations in the South Pacific offering support. New Zealand, notably, offered military assistance in fighting the wildfires. The smoke from the fires drifted across the sea to the island nation, where it obscured mountain peaks and caused breathing problems. Many people in towns close to the coast could actually smell burning. In New South Wales, the smoke even found its way into hospitals and birthing rooms. On new year's eve, many residents forced to evacuate onto the beaches, the most enduring firebreaks in the continent.
In addition to the loss of human lives and the destruction of property and livelihoods, many fear for the fate of Australia's endemic fauna. It estimated that almost 30% of all koalas on earth have killed in the fires. Many more expected to die due to the enormous habitat loss. An iconic picture of the corpse of a baby kangaroo, burnt to death after getting caught in a barbed-wire fence, has come to symbolize the non- human loss Down Under.
Small- scale bushfires are common across Australia in the hottest months of the year. This year, however, has seen one of the worst and most aggressive bushfires. As the entire season from January to May is the hottest and driest in the Southern Hemisphere, many fear that this is only the beginning of the fires, and the country is collectively bracing itself for worse.