It’s been a record heat-setting summer for the country of Australia. At one point, the thermostat rose to a sweltering 105 degrees Fahrenheit in December—the hottest temperature recorded for the country. Needless to say, hot and dry conditions increase the chance of fires too. While bushfires aren’t uncommon in Australia during the hot summer months, this year’s bushfire season has been one of the worst in Australian history. More than 6.3 million hectares, or approximately 15.6 million acres, have burned, twenty-four people have died, and scientists predict that more than a billion animals have been killed. These are horrific fires, but local firefighters and volunteers are working tirelessly to contain them. Others are helping too. People around the world are donating funds to support relief efforts. Australian comedian Celeste Barber raised over $32 million via her Facebook campaign, and celebrities Chris Hemsworth (known for his portrayal of superhero Thor) and legendary singer/songwriter Elton John each pledged $1 million toward fire relief efforts. Now what? A state of emergency has been declared in certain parts of Australia, and police have accused twenty-four people of purposely setting some of the fires. Our hearts go out to the people and animals of Australia. We hope that Mother Nature lends a hand soon with some cooler weather!
January 10, 2020