Australia has been burning for months. But even with millions of acres scorched, several lives lost, and thousands of homes destroyed, there seems to be no near end in sight. To truly understand the extent of the devastation so far, it's important to pay attention to statistics about the Australia fires and the flames' impact on both humans and wildlife.
According to The New York Times, these wildfires are said to be some of the worst in Australian history, having affected every single state within the country — with an especially severe impact in New South Wales. Only exacerbating the fires is the fact that Australia is in the midst of one of its worst droughts in decades. Not to mention, the nation has recently been hit with record-breaking high temperatures.
While first responders, firefighters, and charitable organizations are doing their best to fight Australia's severe fires and support those who have been affected, there is always room for more support. Whether you live in Australia or thousands of miles away, you can help Australia wildfire victims via a number of different avenues.
But first, you should fully understand the crisis that's unfolding. Here are some statistics about the Australia fires that may help provide some insight into what exactly is going on and how you can best support the victims:
More Than Two Dozen Human Lives Have Been Lost
It's estimated that 25 people have died in the fires, according to NPR. At least 16 of the deaths were reported from New South Wales, where the damage of the fires was felt the most. More were reported in Victoria and South Australia.
A Little More Than 25 Million Acres Of Land Have Been Set Ablaze
Reuters reports that at least 25.5 million acres of land have been burned by the fires. That's estimated to be about the size of South Korea, with smoke that can be seen reaching as far as South America. In fact, the smoke is so dense and great in size, that it can be seen from space.
Almost 2,000 Homes Have Been Destroyed
The raging bushfires have completely destroyed 1,588 homes and damaged 653 others within Australia, according to BBC News. The Insurance Council of Australia has estimated that damage costs have already reached $485 million but are expected to increase greatly as time goes on. Most of the damages have been accrued in New South Wales.
Fire Season Isn't Over
Fire season in Australia typically lasts 'til the end of February, according to The Verge. The Sydney Morning Herald, the oldest continuously publishing newspaper in Australia, also reported that authorities are estimating at least another eight weeks of burning bushfires around the nation. Members of the Australian Defense Force are blaming the uncontrollability of the fires to harsh winds that are blowing the fires to other regions.
Both Victoria And New South Wales Have Declared A State Of Emergency
This is the first time since the 2009 Black Saturday fires — some of the worst fires in Australian history — that Victoria has declared a state of emergency and asked for additional government resources to help fight the fire, CNN reports. In response, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has deployed 3,000 Australian Defense Force Reserve troops to help. He also deployed more water-bombing planes in efforts to combat the fires.
Thousands Of People Are Being Evacuated
According to BBC, on Jan. 3, the Australian Navy helped evacuate 1,000 tourists and residents from Mallacoota, a small town in Victoria. Reports have said that this was from a total of 4,000 people that were on the coast waiting to be evacuated. Since then, hundreds of thousands of residents have been strongly urged to evacuate as well.
The Australian Wildfires Are Much Larger Than California's 2019 Wildfires
About 32,400 square miles of land have been burned in the Australian wildfires. That's about 80 times the size of the area that was burned in California's wildfires in 2019, as reported by NBC News. It's also 5,000 square miles larger than the amount of land that was burned in the 2019 Amazon rainforest fires.
About 2,700 Firefighters Are Battling The Flames
CNN reports that as of Jan. 3, an estimated 2,700 firefighters have been responding to and fighting the bushfires in Australia. Many of these firefighters are volunteers, and three have died trying to help put the flames out.
While the fires rage on, it is projected that more damage will be done. But even from far away, you can make an impact by donating to causes fighting the Australian wildfires.