The flames which have been consuming Australia for months, have razed homes and wiped out entire towns. Since the start of the 2019 fire season, a staggering 10 million hectares have been burned across the country. For comparison, the California fires of 2018 claimed about 800,000 hectares.
About half a billion animals have suffered from the blaze in the New South Wales state alone, with millions potentially dead, according to ecologists at the University of Sydney. These numbers include birds, reptiles, and mammals, except bats. Insects and frogs are also excluded from the list, meaning the true number is much higher.
However, like Josef Stalin once said, "The death of one ... is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic." So, to help you comprehend the devastating destruction of the bushfires, here is a list of before-and-after photos from the affected areas.
In the Australian capital Canberra - an administrative region surrounded by New South Wales - the air quality was rated the third worst of all major global cities on Friday. Also, the weather forecast predicts very hot and dry conditions, with strong winds and thunderstorms. This only increases further fire risk.
Tathra Beach, Nsw In Australia. Before And After The Smoke And Ash From Surrounding Fires Arrived. The Black Debris In The Bottom Photo Is Charred Wood And Ash Washed Up On The Shore
Ecologists have grave concerns for the future of unique and endangered wildlife on Kangaroo Island as well. There, bushfires have already killed thousands of koalas.
Fires on the island have destroyed 155,000 hectares of land, about one third of the island’s entire area. Most blazes have hit the biodiverse western areas.
The Kangaroo Island Land for Wildlife organisation has eight sites on private land where they protect various endangered species, including dunnarts, goannas, echidnas, bandicoots and the glossy black-cockatoos.
“People call this place a little Noah’s Ark. The island is a refuge. This is the largest fire we have seen in a long time,” ecologist at Land for Wildlife, Heidi Groffen told The Guardian, highlighting that all eight sites were extensively burned. Even the cameras they used for monitoring had melted.