Australia is burning

Australia is burning: six million hectares to date have been devastated and are expected to burn for months. It is heart breaking. Some moments are apocalyptic. We are experiencing extremes of weather: 46 degrees one day with desiccating northerly winds, down to 13 degrees the next, brought about by cold south westerly changes. These frequent and violent changes fan the fires and take them to new regions, merging blazes, intensifying them, exacerbating them. It defies comprehension and leaves a staggering environmental toll.

We don’t know what to think, what to do, where to go! For the next few weeks, we are staying put in Williamstown, near Melbourne, attending to boat and medical issues, remaining where we are safe and not a burden on anyone. There is nowhere for us to safely go at present. Even with a radar, the coast is hazardous with thick eerie smoke blocking visibility and with appalling air quality. It may be like this for many weeks.

Smoky but safe

But we are lucky compared to those in the north east of Victoria and on the whole east coast of the country. Some were evacuated, many have fled to safer areas, some don’t have a home to get back to. Our East Gippsland and southern NSW friends described their experience: there is no power, red orange skies are all over, black soot falls, intense heat follows, darkness comes in the middle of the day, then the sight of twisted or melted metal, hot burning embers falling, the roar of galloping fires, it is like Armageddon. Entire towns have been flattened as fires snaked through bushland, across highways and up mountains. In New South Wales and Victoria, the most populous states in the country, people tried to outrun the blaze and highways were clogged with cars.

In major cities, such as Sydney and Melbourne, dense smoke has descended over metropolitan areas like a blanket. Some regions of the country recorded air quality measurements 20 times above the hazardous level.

When you see the fire map of Australia, when you realise the intensity and scale of the catastrophic fires ravaging the country, when you hear the countless stories of displaced people, destroyed communities and livelihoods, the millions of animals which have perished, you can’t help but be horrified.

What can we do?

We have celebrated the wonders of the reef, the beauty of the bush, but it is not enough to love this country when the sun is shining and all is well. Now is time to help.

A number of organisations and volunteer services are aiding in the firefighting and recovery efforts for affected communities. Whether you want to help the firefighting organisations, wildlife or just provide somewhere to sleep, here are links and information below:

Every little bit help. But please send donations rather than physical goods.

6 thoughts on “Australia is burning

  1. I see the news on TV and almost daily there is news from Australia. The main subject is always, about the wildfires that are destroying the territory. I also heard the estimate of half-billion dead animals! This is crazy! It’s sad news. Please, take care, Chris. 🙁

    • Hi HJ – it is devastating and it is hard to see how this is all going to end. We have never seen anything so bad. Normally there are a few isolated blazes, which can be fought, but this time they are all joining together and totally unmanageable.

  2. The Firies are our true heroes. I hope the animals and birds are able to recover eventually but it will be a very slow process as their habitat has been destroyed along with their sources of food and water

    • Yes I suspect a few more species will disappear. Agreed, there is a lot of amazing work and generosity in the midst of all the horribleness.

  3. I was going to donate to WIRES, but then I did some digging and it seems they are only for NSW, which is fine, but there is wildlife in many states, so I donated to Wildlife Victoria.

    • Hi Leanne. As we talked about when we caught up, the most important thing is to do what we can to help. It is encouraging to see in the posts’s stats that like you, many readers are following the links and donating. Every little bit helps. If we can be prompted and in turn prompt somebody else, it is a good result.

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