The fires in Australia continue to gain attention by the general public. The fires started back in September of 2019.
There are several angles people are talking about and they all overlap. Climate change, arson, human fatalities, animals fatalities, structural loss, vegetation (land) loss, and more.
Here is where the damage sits today. These are just general numbers. The damage is much further reaching.
The wildfires are among the worst to hit Australia since the so-called “Black Saturday fires” in 2009 which killed 173 people, according to news.com.au.
In total, more than 17.9 million acres have been burned across Australia’s six states. Wisconsin covers 34.7 million acres. The worst affected state is New South Wales (NSW), with more than 12.1 million acres burned.
The 2019 Amazon rainforest fires burned more than 17.5 million acres. In California, which is known for its deadly wildfires, just over 247,000 acres burned in 2019, and about 1 million acres in 2018.
A total of 24 people across Australia have died this fire season, including several volunteer firefighters.
Nearly 2000 homes have been destroyed
How many animals have died?
About half a billion animals have been affected by the fires across NSW, with millions likely dead, and that’s a conservative estimate. Some experts estimate over one billion have died.
The there is the question as to what is included? The figures for NSW include birds, reptiles, and mammals, except bats. It also excludes insects and frogs.
Almost a third of koalas in NSW may have been killed in the fires, and a third of their habitat has been destroyed, said Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley.
Some species, like koalas, aren’t in any immediate danger of extinction because they are spread out across the country, said the university ecologists. But others that live in more niche environments with lower populations, including certain types of frogs and birds, could be wiped out entirely if their habitats are hit by the fires. Experts say the estimates are pretty accurate, but the total damage won’t be known till the fires stop, if ever?