2020 has not been a good year for almost everyone. From bushfires to earthquakes, floods to a global pandemic, we have experienced all through this mess of a year. However, one of the biggest losses the world has incurred this year is the massive Australian bushfire. The fire was so massive that it took over months for the forests to extinguish. Australian bushfire started in June of 2019 and stretched to march 2020. It devastated major portions of the state and took over 46 million acres of land. The fire ended up destroying over 5900 buildings which also includes 2779 houses. Over 34 people got killed along with thousands of animals.
The months of December and January (the Australian summer) was the toughest as the fire continued to burn cities. Various states including the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, and Victoria were declared states of emergency.
The occurrence of wildfires is common in the Australian summer season. These fires peak in February most of the time.
However, the scale of last year’s bushfire was unprecedented. Many areas of the country experienced one of the most severe droughts. Last year was the hottest and driest years ever recorded. Sustained high temperatures combined with characteristic Australian windy summer made the fire situation even worse in the country. New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria, and Southern Australia have been hit the hardest.
However, after a depressing period of ten months, Australia is healing. Scientists believe Australia will bounce back to its pristine environmental conditions. All it needs is some time to recover.
Health issues caused by Australian bushfire:
High temperature and burn-related injuries were not the only consequence caused by the Australian bushfire. There are a plethora of chronic health issues that wildfires brought along. These problems include asthma, bronchitis, and other related breathing problems.
The harsh combination of dust, smoke, and ash, made it even harder for people with respiratory conditions to breathe. The wildfire covered Southern Australian skies with smoke. The smoke in Sydney was observed to be ten times higher than the hazardous limit. It reached New Zealand in a matter of months.
Amid Australian wildfires, the hospital admissions also skyrocketed. With smoke filling the entire atmosphere, citizens were requested to stay indoors. The outbreak of the coronavirus added fuel to fire and people were encouraged to wear face masks not only to prevent inhaling smoke but to filter out the Coronavirus.
How is Australia recovering from the fires?
Australian bushfire caused a big percentage of forest floras to burn down. However, various fire-damaged trees are showing epicormic growth. Sprouting trunks and branches indicate that the tree is alive and photosynthesizing. With a burst of re-growth, people are hopeful that after months of despair caused by flame and smoke, Australia’s nature is trying to bounce back. Last year, the region experienced the second hottest summer season on record. The multi-year drought was another issue Australia was faced with. However, Australia bushfire recovery photos show that nature is doing its thing right. People are hopeful to follow nature to recover from a traumatic period.
It's not the first time that Australian forests have caught fire. Australian wildlife is familiar with the cycle of fire, rain, and recovery. Most of the forests in the country are adapted to fire. According to ecologist and historian Stephen Pyne’s book, World Fire Australia is a fire continent. Some species even need fire for their survival.
However, the damage caused by the last year’s massive fire has people wondering if even a fire continent can recover from recent events’ scale and severity
According to the latest research published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the recent bushfire burned over 21% of Australia’s forest. According to the author, it was a globally unprecedented disaster. The massive fire also indicates the possibility of a more flammable future. According to ecologists, the 2019-2020 bushfire has accelerated the process of climate change. More climatic issues are expected to arrive earlier than anticipated.
What Could Slow Down Australia's Bushfire Recovery?
Ecologists are concerned that with the climate getting warmer, fire conditions
are about to get worse. They are afraid that the time between wildfire events is about to shorten. This can be a problem for the species who have adapted to deal with occasional wildfire occurrences.
According to the experts, the vegetation may not get enough time to re-grow if wildfires become more frequent. According to Marta Yebra, a research fellow from ANU who studies fire severity, these environmental conditions may break the need of the ecosystem to fully recover.
With climate rapidly changing, temperatures are getting hotter. Erratic precipitation is compounding the problem. Some species may take longer than usual to recover. Less dominant species may get the upper-hand in these conditions.
Australia is on its way to recovery after experiencing a massive fire assault. Animals are returning to their natural habitat whereas green shoots are sprouting. However, it appears that the ecosystem may never bounce back to its pristine state.
The destruction figures of this fire season have reached a devastating point. Over six months, more than 11 million hectares
of land have burned down. Over one billion animals have perished as a result of a massive Australian bushfire.
However, ecologists believe in the regenerative power of the Australian bush. It might take longer, but the Australian ecosystem will recover from the massive fire destruction.
Published on: December 23, 2020