Looking back into the Flames

Quinton Carson, Staff Writer

Into the Fire

Back in February things were looking sketchy. We had COVID-19 which had just started peaking, the Australian bush fires, plus a lot of other scary things. Everything was either getting placed under quarantine or new regulations were being set up. However about a month and a half later one of these crises was coming to an end. Now that more time has passed we are taking a look back into the Australian Wildfires. 

Every year around February, Australia’s forest fires peak. Usually, this is something that they can control but this year it got out of hand. As to why you might be wondering. Australia also happened to be in a really bad drought at the start of this year. This drought was off the charts making this year the hottest and the driest on record for Australia. Mixed with high temperatures and lots of windy weather, this only worsened conditions causing the fires to be catastrophic. In turn, this caused the fires to spread far throughout the Australian countryside, destroying many animal habitats along the way and wreaking havoc for this nation.

During the 2019-2020 bushfire season, which stretched almost a whole year from June 2019 to March 2020, many things happened. Sadly 34 people were killed with plenty more injured.  They were fortunate to have only lost 34 people considering how deadly the fires were. However millions of animals lost their lives and homes in the process. As well as 5,900 buildings, almost half of these being homes, and an estimated 46 million acres succumbed to the fire. The hardest hit areas were New South Wales,  Victoria, Tasmania, and most of South Australia.

Direct Relief

Since Australia is already a well established country, they were able to care for most people affected by the fires at their local hospitals. What they mainly needed were masks and protective equipment. However, because of Covid-19 on the rise, masks were needed in all the countries affected by COVID. Which in turn, made less masks able to go around making it harder to get the proper equipment to defend against the fires. Thankfully, Direct Relief still managed to deliver nearly 430,000 N95 masks despite the current conditions. They were then distributed to national and state health groups, state emergency management groups, all types of first responders, healthcare facilities, and providers, as well as schools and community groups. These masks also protected from another unforeseen threat caused by the fires, Asbestos, and other chemicals.

Due to Covid-19, Australia couldn’t get any money granted to them right away. However, since COVID cases were decreasing rapidly in Australia, they were able to get the grants not too long after. Many businesses and people around the world were donating money to the wildfires. The Australian Red cross stated that around $232 million was donated for the cause. They also mentioned that every dollar was going to people and communities affected by the fires. As of lately, most of the support is shifting to focus on the mental health of people who could’ve been traumatized by the fires. Most people are starting to get back into the swing of things. Life still won’t be back to normal for the next few years or so, but it is definitely a start.