Our Undeniable Guide to Comprehending the Fires.

We are in the midst of fighting one of our worst bushfire seasons.

Months of drought and record-breaking temperatures have created the perfect storm of devastation that has killed at least 25 people and displaced thousands of families.

This is our guide to comprehend the scope and severity of this disaster.

Where are the Australian bushfires?

The active fire and burned areas of Australia's bushfires

Whilst most of Australia has experienced fires this summer season, the most devastating have been along the south and eastern coasts where most of our population reside.

At the time of writing, more than 6.3 million hectares have burned.

To visualise this, that's 6.3 million football fields. 

California's fires amassed a burned area of 800,000.

At the time of writing, approximately 130 fires are burning with more than 50 deemed "uncontained".

Two large fires at the border of New South Wales and Victoria have combined to create a "mega blaze".

The size of the Australian Bushfires compared to other countries

How did they get so bad?

We haven't any solid evidence of how the fires started.

Most will occur from lightning strikes, or accidentally by a spark.

However, some fires are started deliberately. 

Australia and south-east Asia have been the recipients of a natural weather event known as the Indian Ocean Dipole or IOD.

The IOD is similar to El Nino.

Parts of eastern Africa is experiencing flooding and torrential rains, while the Oceanic region faces dry spells lasting months. 

Australia has an undeniable trend of warming due to climate change.

Add this to the overwhelming scientific evidence the world is heating and the product is the devastating Australian bushfires.

The hotter and drier climate lead to the spread and incidence of bushfires to burn faster and further. 

Bushfires can spread three times faster than the average adult can run.

For some perspective, grass fires spread almost three times faster than the average adult can run. 

Conservative estimates put the fauna death toll at over 500 million in December, with some sources elevating that sum to the billion mark today. 

How bad is the bushfire smoke?

The smoke from Australia's bushfires is the 3rd worst air quality for surrounding cities.

Parts of south-east NSW and Canberra have experienced the worst smoke pollution.

Canberra has been rated as the third-worst of all major global cities on January 3rd. 

The smoke has affected the air quality in New Zealand, some 2300km away. 

The smoke from Australian bushfires has affected New Zealand's air quality.

Is climate change to blame?

A loaded question.

Australia has always had issues with dry, drought-ridden seasons that facilitate the incidence and growth of fires.

However, data shows that Australia has steadily warmed as a continent.

The all-time average maximum was broken twice in December at 41.9C, smashing the previous record of 40.3C in 2013.

By the end of December, every state measured above the 40C threshold, including the coolest state of Tasmania.

Australia broke its mean maximum temperature record twice in December 2019

The IOD driving the extreme drought conditions is magnified by the warming Australian temperature that shows no sign of stopping. 

Climate scientists have warned the elevated temperatures would play a roll in magnifying natural weather events around the world. 

Africa has more incidence of flooding and landslides from torrential rain, while the IOD has contributed to fires spreading faster and wider.

What is being done to help?

Three volunteer fire fighters have lost their lives in the fires.

Fire fighting efforts by and air has sprayed water and fire retardent agents on the ground in an attempt to curb the spread.

Sometimes large trenches are built to stop the burning of undergrowth.

Fighting the fires directly is far too dangerous and difficult for personnel, therefore containment is the only available solution. 

Three volunteers out of thousands have died on the frontlines of the fires:

Sam McPaul, Geoffrey Keaton, and Andrew O'Dwyer.

Professional firefighting aid from the U.S., Canada and New Zealand are helping fight the blazes as well as the police, military and navy in evacuation efforts. 

Please help donate to the relief and containment efforts by donating here:

https://www.facebook.com/donate/1010958179269977/10157671223743418

http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/news-and-media/general-news/featured/support-for-firefighter-families

https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/about/supporting-cfa#donate-cfa

https://www.wires.org.au/donate/emergency-fund

https://donate.wwf.org.au/donate/koala-crisis/koala-crisis?t=AP1119W03

https://www.salvationarmy.org.au/donate/make-a-donation/donate-online/?appeal=disasterappeal

https://www.redcross.org.au/campaigns/disaster-relief-and-recovery-new-years-eve?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialorganic&utm_campaign=201913_drr_disaster-relief-and-recovery_don_transient_bushfires_none

https://frrr.org.au/cb_pages/supporting_bushfire-affected_communities.php

https://www.instagram.com/spendwiththem/