Massive bushfires threaten Sydney . . .
More than 100 forest fires – called “bushfires” in Australia – are burning in New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, with several merging on Friday into a mega-fire on the outskirts of Sydney, Australia’s most populous city. The mega-fire has already burned over 335,000 hectares of bush. Weather conditions are expected to worsen early next week with a spike in temperatures. The city is blanketed with toxic smoke and the sky has turned orange with haze. Photographs of firefighters at work look like images from an apocalyptic movie.
Politicians still divided on climate change . . .
Last month Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister denied the link between climate change and New South Wales’ bushfires, claiming “we've had fires in Australia since time began.” He described people who recognize that link as “inner-city raving lunatics” and “woke capital-city greenies.” An opposition Green Party Senator described Australia’s governing Liberal-National coalition as “no better than a bunch of arsonists.” The coalition scrapped the country’s national carbon tax in 2014 after winning the federal election the previous year. It has since been re-elected twice and has been a consistent supporter of Australia’s coal industry, a major contributor to the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Firefighting stretched to the limit . . .
New South Wales’ Premier has admitted the state’s firefighting resources are stretched, with about 1,000 staff and 2,000 volunteer firefighters currently deployed. The state’s Emergency Services Minister said the fire threat will likely last all through the summer and will require “all of the resources that we have available to us.” Twenty-one Canadian firefighters arrived in Sydney on Wednesday and a contingent from the U.S. is scheduled to arrive on Sunday. While these are important contributions, how many firefighters, firetrucks, water tanks, and helicopter water bombers will be enough to stop the bushfires? At a time when the annual fire season is becoming ever-longer, and bushfires becoming ever-more threatening, that question might be impossible to answer.
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation: See how global warming has changed the world since your childhood
- Financial Times: Deadly Australian fires ignite bitter battle over climate change
- The Sydney Morning Herald: Exhaustion point': Worst to come for NSW bushfires