Science & Health
Lessons learned from Australia's wildfires
The forest fires in Australia have tremendously affected people, animals and their homes over these past several months. Millions of animals have been killed and thousands of homes destroyed. Due to these scary statistics, I want to share some tips on what we can do to help out those affected and protect ourselves if there is ever a fire here.
While Australia's wildfires became much more severe in January 2020, the bushfires started in June 2019. In a BBC News article, a reported 1,600 firefighters were needed to put out the fires. This is something people should care about because people and animals are getting hurt. Animals are affected more drastically because their habitat is in the forest, and they cannot all relocate on their own. Houses were also destroyed by fire, which spread faster and faster throughout the country.
We might not have experienced a wildfire, but we can still help others that are in need. Even though we might not live in hot climates, knowing what to do if you are ever in a fire or near a fire can be helpful.
“I just watched a show over the weekend about wildfires in Africa,” Keith Magni, a science teacher at Fenway High said. “It's less of a problem for the humans than it is for the animals.”
In some parts of the world, planned and controlled fires are used to reduce the risk of a bigger fire.
“I've heard of controlled fires...every couple of years [they] are done to make sure things don’t build up to the point where there’s a lot of fires,” Magni said. Unfortunately, Australia’s wildfires were not controlled and put many lives in jeopardy.
People that live near the wildfires are affected differently than animals, but the impact is still negative. Humans have cars to distance themselves from fire and masks to help them breathe better. Even with these quick solutions, some people are left homeless from the fires. They may sleep at a hotel if they have the money or stay with friends and family that have not been directly affected. Oftentimes, they need to take advantage of resources that will help them stay safe and supported long after the fire takes their homes away.
The government in Victoria, Australia established a fundraiser for families and communities who have been affected by the fires. You can donate directly to the State Fire Authority or to the Australian Red Cross, which has already helped over 18,600 people stay safe after the fire. People can also donate to fundraisers that support healthcare and rehousing for animals. To find more information, visit the websites of the Australian Red Cross, Pray for Australia, About Australia and the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors.
Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors:
Finally, here are some ways you can stay safe when you are near a wildfire, according to Little Things magazine:
- Prepare your home before wildfire season. You want to have your garden hose as close to you as possible. Regularly clean your gutters and roof, move any stacked wood or newspaper away from your house.
- Make an evacuation plan
- Prepare for evacuation by having a bag or a suitcase that contains the important things that you’d need to stay safe
- Limit your exposure to smoke
- Leave immediately when evacuation is ordered
- Don’t go home unless you’re told to by the authorities
- Clean your home safely after the fire
- Help others when you finished cleaning your home and you know that you and your family are safe
- Call 911 if anyone got injured during the evacuation