Bushfires in Australia are not a new thing. This continent has encountered even more hazardous fires in the past. The eastern part of the continent is one of the most fire-prone regions on the planet– and it has been for millions of years. Along with significant property and loss of human life, the fires have also contributed to the rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
According to a report from Vox, 1 billion animals are now estimated dead in Australia’s fires. The animals mostly consisted of kangaroos, koalas, and exotic birds native to the continent. Moreover, another report says that the bushfire has destroyed 6 million hectares of land. Local businesses like farming and poultry are the ones that are affected adversely.
What Are the Possible Causes of Bushfires in Australia 2020
1) Arson or by Natural Causes
There are a lot of reports circulating on the internet suggesting that the bushfires were deliberately lit by some sinister people. A statement released by the New South Wales police department says that they have arrested 24 people over alleged deliberately-lit bushfires. There is another school of thought that says the Eucalyptus trees got ignited by dry lightning.
2) The Fires Spread Quickly in a Mountainous Topography
Since the eastern part of Australia is mostly mountainous and hilly. Furthermore, the Australian government has protected this region against deforestation. Hence, the density of the forest is unparalleled to other parts of the continent. One the fire ignited due to one reason or another, it is difficult to get it under control–like they do in other regions. The fire brigades take days to reach the source of the fire.
3) Global Warming
Until a few years ago, it was believed that the carbon emitted by the bushfires and other sources in the neighboring regions was absorbed entirely by the trees themselves. There was a time when the net carbon emissions were negligible. Now in 2019-20, due to global warming, the fires are lit easily and the trees burn even more intensely. So, global warming is considered a cause behind bushfires in Australia.
4) Climate Change
There has been so much talk about climate change in the past couple of years. Particularly, since the UN Climate Change Summit 2019. But can Climate Change give rise to bushfires? Sadly, it looks like this is a possibility. Australia is getting warmer and warmer with every passing century. A study by Melbourne University concluded that the recent droughts and heatwaves in Australia may be the worst in 800 years.
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5) The Speed of Winds
As most of the area in the eastern is hilly and mountainous, the speed of the wind is much higher than other flatter parts of the continent. The air in the wind contains oxygen, which is also a fuel for the fire. Wind also promotes an accelerated spread of fire by giving rise to new fires–this phenomenon is known as spotting. Moreover, people and animals living in such a region are always vulnerable. A fire could break out at any instance.
These are the possible causes of bushfires in Australia in 2020. Due to rain and efforts made by the government, it was possible to take control of the fire. However, in the future, more efforts need to be made to find out the real cause behind the bushfire, so it can be prevented in the first place.