56157c7c58023d8f8b37b31e63edfe7b.jpeg

Flames are chewing up my country

Stratford, Australia (CNN)I’m visiting my mother in the little country town where I grew up in Gippsland, a region of Australia that’s currently on fire. That’s not very specific, so let me narrow it down: I’m in one of the south-easternmost parts of Australia that is currently on fire.

Gippsland is a big area, roughly two New Jerseys. The closest fire is 50 miles away from us today, lending the sky a gray hue and the sun an orange tint. The official weather forecast is: “Mostly sunny but smoky.”
People here keep one eye on their phones, watching the online maps that show flames slowing chewing their way through half a million hectares to the north and east, but there’s no immediate danger. The local firefighters have stayed in town, in case they’re needed nearby.
    But we are worried about what these fires portend. Threat of fire is a constant in this part of the world. In that sense, this is nothing new. In another, though, it is unprecedented, both in its scale and its implications for how Australians can manage a land that is increasingly beset by flood and flame.
    Nearly 20% of Australia is officially categorized as desert, and 70% in total — the middle 70% — is a dusty, baked scrub that may as well be, and is, where no one lives. These areas aren’t on fire, because there’s not enough vegetation to burn.
    The cities aren’t on fire, either. Australia’s major cities — all five of them — are parked by the ocean, where it’s cooler. Sydney is currently choked by smoke and Melbourne, where I live, shuffled through a hazy Christmas, but for the most part, it’s insulated.

      People flee Australia fires as state declares emergency

    But if you had these things, you should stay, because you could beat back the fire, or at least shelter while it passed. Whereas if you left, the bush would take back your house.
    Then, in February 2009, the Black Saturday fires killed 173 people and injured nearly 500. The bush was drier; the fires were hotter; people who stayed didn’t survive. It’s now known that when the fires come, you get in your car and leave.
    Firefighters in the bush are mostly volunteers. My stepfather was one of them: Occasionally he got a phone call and off he went. It is the quintessential Australian act of looking out for your mates. It’s been like this for decades, but never before have volunteers been required to fight for weeks and weeks, against fires that are too large to put out.
      No one seems to be sure how this system is supposed to work under those conditions: who’s supposed to pay them, whether they’ll even accept pay, how farms and employers are supposed to operate in their absence.

      Join us on Twitter and Facebook

      What will come out of this chaos, it’s hard to say. But there will be a government assistance package, in due course, because Australians of all kinds are bound by the principle that ordinary people who have suffered a terrible ordeal deserve help. There was an assistance package last time, as well, and after the floods, and there will be one next time, after the next catastrophic weather event, of the kind that used to be called once in a century.

      Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/02/opinions/australia-bush-fires-barry/index.html

      Previous Post
      d5baa632e0ac7ce39956b4530b7d14e7.jpeg
      Uncategorized

      Khlo Kardashian Claps Back After Being Accused Of Wearing Fur, Says Critics Are Spreading ‘Vile Hate’ – Perez Hilton

      Next Post
      0ff0fee93e453a983a0398a1e51efa93.jpeg
      Uncategorized

      Inside Mitch McConnell’s plan to keep the Senate in 2020

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *