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Technology Australian bushfires: Everything we know and how you can help

04:15  03 january  2020
04:15  03 january  2020 Source:   cnet.com

More than 60 bushfires are raging the state of New South Wales in Australia

  More than 60 bushfires are raging the state of New South Wales in Australia Fire officials are warning of "catastrophic fire danger" as firefighters battle dozens of blazes raging across the Australian state of New South Wales. © Dan Peled/EPA/Shutterstock Mandatory Credit: Photo by DAN PELED/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (10470920b) A firefighter works to contain a bushfire near Glen Innes, New South Wales, Australia, 10 November 2019. Three people have reportedly been killed, five are missing and 150 homes have been destroyed as more than 80 bushfires are burning uncontained around the state.

The bushfire risk for the 2019 season was well known to Australian firefighting chiefs, who had been trying to meet with Scott Morrison, the Australian You can find links to donate below: Australia 's Red Cross Disaster relief and recovery fund helps support evacuation centers and recovery programs

Letters: Jo Dodds, president of Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action, and other readers from Australia and the UK on the current extensive blazes and the climate crisis.

Australia is currently facing an unprecedented national crisis, as bushfires tear through rural communities across the nation. Since September, at least 17 people have been killed and over 1,500 homes have been destroyed. At least 28 people are confirmed missing after bushfires tore through busy tourist hubs in eastern Victoria. The scale of the threat is immense, and fires continue to burn, with authorities calling for people to evacuate their homes as the country braces for another weekend of catastrophic danger.

a man that is standing in the dark: Australia is on fire. Brett Hemmings/Getty© Provided by CNET Australia is on fire. Brett Hemmings/Getty

Australians caught up in the crisis are taking to social media and pleading for help. Entire towns have been flattened as fires snaked through bushland, across highways and up mountains. In New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, the most populous states in the country, people tried to outrun the blaze and highways were clogged with cars. In major cities, like Sydney and Melbourne, a dense smoke has descended over busy metropolitan areas like a blanket. Some regions of the country recorded air quality measurements 20 times above the hazardous level.

Australian bushfires death toll rises to four, Karratha blaze being monitored

  Australian bushfires death toll rises to four, Karratha blaze being monitored Australian bushfires death toll rises to four, Karratha blaze being monitoredSYDNEY (Reuters) - A man's body has been found in burnt-out bushland in New South Wales (NSW) state, taking the death toll from bushfires that have swept across Australia's east coast to four, police said on Thursday.

Raging bushfires in Australia , so extreme that ash, smoke and carbon monoxide from the burning have reached distant New Zealand, could rage for months, climate experts in both countries are warning. Australia 's Bureau of Meteorology (BoM)

Australian military aircraft and vessels will be deployed to help emergency services in the fire-ravaged states of New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria. Image copyright Getty Images. Image caption PM Scott Morrison flies over bushfires in NSW on 23 December. The Australian Defence Force will send

a man that is standing in the dark: Australia is on fire.© Brett Hemmings/Getty

Australia is on fire.

The situation is grim. Here's what we know about the ongoing fires, followed by a number of ways you can help.

What caused the fires?

This is a complex question. Australia is a continent familiar with bushfires, bushfire management and the importance of fires in regenerating the land. The Indigenous people who have lived on the land for tens of thousands of years have long known the importance of fire management and how it contributes to the health of ecosystems. Bushfires are a well-understood threat, but the fires currently burning across the nation have been described as "unprecedented" in their ferocity and scale.

Woman risks her life to save a koala

  Woman risks her life to save a koala At least six people have died and hundreds of homes have been destroyed by bushfires.A woman, who said her name was Toni, was seen on video taking off her shirt and charging into the flames to save a koala. She doused the smoldering marsupial with water and took it to a sanctuary, where it's doing well.

Thousands of Tourists Flee Australian Bushfires as Military Begins Evacuations. (PERTH, Australia ) — Thousands of tourists fled Australia ’s wildfire-ravaged eastern coast Thursday ahead of worsening conditions as the military started to evacuate people trapped on the shore further south.

What we know so far about the Australian bushfires crisis on New Year's Eve. How do Australians in our most populated regions live in a future defined by heat, drought, powerful wind Every major bushfire season in Australia has been followed by inquiries and their recommendations

Fires can start in a number of ways -- from carelessly discarded cigarettes to lightning strikes and arson -- but they are fueled by a dizzying amount of risk factors. A lack of rain and low soil moisture can help enable small fires to grow in size, and coupled with the high temperatures and fierce winds that Australia has experienced in the last few months, these small fires become huge infernos. In addition, with the fire season getting longer, the window to perform critical hazard reduction burns has decreased.

The bushfire risk for the 2019 season was well known to Australian firefighting chiefs, who had been trying to meet with Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, since April, worried that a crisis was coming but were constantly rebuffed.

What is the connection to climate change ?

Bushfires aren't started by climate change, but they are exacerbated by the effects of global warming. The Climate Council, an independent, community-funded climate organization, suggests bushfire conditions are now more dangerous than they were in the past, with longer bushfire seasons, drought, drier fuels and soils and record-breaking heat. The link between bushfires and climate change has become a political football, but experts agree climate change explains the unprecedented nature of the current crisis.

Sydney gasps for air as Australia bushfire smoke reaches record levels

  Sydney gasps for air as Australia bushfire smoke reaches record levels Sydney gasps for air as Australia bushfire smoke reaches record levelsMELBOURNE (Reuters) - The Australian state of New South Wales is gasping under the worst levels of air pollution recorded as smoke from widespread bushfires causes a spike in hospital visits and hazards including poor visibility for drivers.

Bushfires on New Year's Eve force thousands to shelter on beaches, military called in. Your news how you want it. Warning levels for a string of bushfires burning on the South Australian mainland have all been reduced but concerns remain for six blazes, including those burning on Kangaroo Island

Dozens of fires rage across large parts of eastern Australia – here is a summary of what we know about the extent of the blazes and their effect.

Notably, Australia experienced its hottest year on record in 2019, climbing 1.5 degrees Celsius higher than the average, according to a report by the Bureau of Meteorology. Rising temperatures increase the risk of bushfire, and in November, Sydney experienced a catastrophic fire danger for the first time ever.

There is also a horrifying feedback loop that occurs when great swaths of land are ablaze, a fact the globe grappled with during the Amazon fires of 2019. Bushfires release carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. The gas, which makes up only a small percentage of the total gases in the atmosphere, is exceptionally good at trapping heat. In just three months, Australia's fires are estimated to have released 350 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. Experts warn a century or more will be needed to absorb the carbon dioxide released.

What areas are affected?

Fires are raging in every state with some of the greatest conflagrations in NSW and Victoria. The Gospers Mountains fires, in NSW, have burned over half a million hectares, and scientists suggest it could be the largest single-ignition point fire in Australia's history. The total area burnt has is rapidly approaching 6 million hectares (almost 15 million acres) with conditions worsening over the coming days, putting more communities and land at risk.

Bushfire smoke wreaks havoc at Australian golf tournament

  Bushfire smoke wreaks havoc at Australian golf tournament Bushfire smoke has caused havoc at a golf tournament in Australia, forcing one player to borrow a mask from a spectator and another to complain of burning eyes and coughing fits. © CRAIG GOLDING/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Ryan Chisnall wears an anti-pollution mask during the first round of the Australian Open in Sydney. Deadly fires first broke out in New South Wales several weeks ago and continue to blaze across the state as the Australian summer approaches.

“ We know from experience many of those displaced by the fires are going to need us for many months or years ahead,” Salvation Army spokesman Major “ We are committed to standing alongside these communities for as long as it takes to get them back on their feet.” You can donate to the Salvation

Queensland and New South Wales are currrently being ravaged by bushfires . Here are 5 easy ways you can help the victims in QLD and NSW through this As part of their efforts to aid communities affected by the bushfires , the Australian Red Cross volunteers are offering first aid, psychological

The Guardian Australia has an excellent interactive map you can use to understand the extreme size of the fires, and the entire fire front, compared to other cities around the globe.

The dust and ash from the fires have spread across the ocean and as far as New Zealand's Franz Josef Glacier. On Jan. 1, images emerged of Franz Josef's snowy mountaintops colored a caramel brown. The distance between the glacier and the bushfire front is about the same as the distance from Boston to Miami.

Are koalas at risk of extinction?

An erroneous report in November 2019 stated the koala, an Australian icon, was "functionally extinct" due to the bushfires burning across NSW and Queensland. Experts do not believe this to be true, but the species -- and many other native Australian fauna -- are under threat as a direct result of the uncontrolled blazes.

Ecologists at the University of Sydney estimate up to 480 million animals may have perished in the conflagrations, including up to 8,000 koalas. Sussan Ley, Australian environment minister, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the true extent of deaths can't be fully grasped until the fires have stopped burning and "a proper assessment can be made."

How you can help

A number of organizations and volunteer services are aiding in the firefighting and recovery efforts for affected communities. You can find links to donate below:

These women traveled 4 hours with 5 trucks of supplies to cook meals for exhausted Australian firefighters

  These women traveled 4 hours with 5 trucks of supplies to cook meals for exhausted Australian firefighters As bushfires raged around them, the ladies of the Australian Islamic Centre felt compelled to help out their community. © Australian Islamic CentreThe group from Newport, Victoria, a suburb of Melbourne, filled five trucks full of donated supplies and raised $1,500 in only 48 hours. They traveled, along with other volunteers, more than four hours to distribute the supplies to victims, according to Rashid Elhouli, who oversees online public relations for the Australian Islamic Centre. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said another firefighter was injured in a separate vehicle. "This is awful news for the families and our sympathies are with them. Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways

Australia 's biggest bushfire crisis in years has reignited debate about whether Morrison's conservative government has taken sufficient action on crisis management. We use cookies to improve our service for you . You can find more information in our data protection declaration.

  • Australia's Red Cross Disaster relief and recovery fund helps support evacuation centers and recovery programs for the affected communities
  • The NSW Rural Fire Service has a donation page to support the firefighting efforts in New South Wales
  • The Country Fire Authority is the state of Victoria's rural firefighting service and you can donate directly here.
  • The Country Fire Service in South Australia also takes direct donations.
  • The Salvation Army has a disaster appeal donations page set up to deliver support to local communities affected by the blazes.
  • Foodbank is taking donations to help people in need during the crisis. You can donate at its website to the Victorian relief effort, which helps get relief for communities cut off from power and food.
  • Givit is a not-for-profit organization that cares for those in need by letting you donate goods they then pass on. It accepts items or money at its donation page.
  • The RSPCA bushfire appeal is used to protect the pets, livestock and wildlife affected by bushfires, helping evacuate animals from disaster zones. Items like livestock pellets and possum boxes are also incredibly handy.
  • The World Wildlife Fund accepts donations to help support conservation activities, particularly related to koalas. Money can help provide emergency care during bushfires.
  • The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has already raised in excess of $2 million to help search for and protect the koalas in the region. You can donate at its GoFundMe page.
  • WIRES is an Australia wildlife rescue organization with a myriad ways to help Australia's native fauna. Donations can be made through its website.
  • Run your online searches through Ecosia, which uses profits to plant trees where they are needed most. Trees help reduce the carbon dioxide load. It can be added to Chrome.
  • In the US, if you want to contact elected officials and make your voice heard about climate change action -- you can do that here.

This article was originally posted on Dec. 2 and is being constantly updated.

Coughing fit from bushfire smoke forces Australian Open player to forfeit match .
Smoke from the Australian bushfires in South Wales and Victoria has engulfed Melbourne, the site of next week’s Australian Open, and it’s already causing breathing issues for athletes. © Provided by Yahoo! Sports Smoke haze from unprecedented bushfires is already negatively affecting Australian Open competitors. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images) Dalila Jakupovic, a Slovenian tennis player ranked No. 180 in the world, collapsed in a coughing fit during her qualifying match and was forced to retire.Awful scenes in Melbourne.

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