The Bushfire Crisis

Australia is burning at a rapid rate

Large bush fires captured by NASA satellite NOAA

Since September, at least 24 million acres of Australia have burned- equal to over 12 times the amount of land burned in the California wildfires in 2018. Along with some of these natural fires, however, some were deliberately started and 24 Australians have been arrested. This criminal activity has harmed the environment, and a few intentional fires had catastrophic consequences, according to

“After reading articles on the KSL news page, I know that a state of emergency has been declared due to the massive fires spreading across the country,” freshman Jonathan Steinberg said. “I know that a lot of countries are sending firefighters over to help.”

At least 29 people have been killed and about 2500 homes have been burned. Scientists fear long-term ecosystem damage because nearly one billion animals have died and habitats have been destroyed, according to

“According to ecologist Stuart Blanch of Australia, the number of deceased wildlife is becoming more of a reality than an estimation every day,” sophomore Thinh Vu said. “It’s sad enough that an area the size of Portugal is on fire and not much is being done about it.”

Australia had its driest ever year in 2019 this year, with rainfall 40 percent lower than average. There is evidence that natural weather patterns in Australia have created an excess in greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to the start and spread of the bushfires, according to

“Basically, most of our country is in a massive drought,” Australian resident Cooper Rutten said. “To add onto that, nobody in the country has been doing controlled burns to keep their land in check. This means that really tall, dead grass that won’t get consumed by anything is just lying around waiting to get lit.”

For the first time since 2010, the U.S. federal government is sending firefighters to help combat these catastrophes. There are currently 137 U.S. firefighters assigned to Australia, according to

Other countries such as the bordering nations of New Zealand, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea have offered support, according to

Although Australia is receiving help from governments and higher authorities, many middle and lower class people are wondering what they can do to help.

“I think the obvious answer [to helping] is donating money where it’s needed,” Meyers said. “Money would supply the Australian red cross and emergency personnel with the resources needed to help put out the fires and help the victims. People like you and I can help by spreading awareness to people who have the ability to make a change.”


Key Club and Eco Club are working together to raise money for the wildlife affected by the Australian Bush Fires. They are selling t-shirts for $15, and all the profits go toward Friends of the Koala Inc. This charity is rebuilding the habitats that burned down and paying for veterinary services on the animals injured by the fires.

Below is a link to pre-order your t-shirt. Once you complete the order form, print out the receipt and deliver it along with your payment to Mrs. Tichy’s office in the Library. There will be envelopes beside her door if she is not there. Place the form and money in the envelope and slide it beneath the door.

If you do not pre-order, don’t worry. They also will be selling t-shirts at all lunches the week of March 17-25. You can wear your shirts to the Australian Wildlife varsity volleyball game on March 26. Please note that these shirts will not get you free entry into the game. They will be collecting donations before and during the game.

Shirts will be delivered to 1st hour March 17.

Information provided by whsemail.