On Fire

Australia is on fire. What does this mean? Staff Writer Jose McDaniel explains.

In+this+Monday%2C+Dec.+30%2C+2019+photo+provided+by+State+Government+of+Victoria%2C+a+helicopter+tackles+a+wildfire+in+East+Gippsland%2C+Victoria+state%2C+Australia.+Wildfires+burning+across+Australia%27s+two+most-populous+states+trapped+residents+of+a+seaside+town+in+apocalyptic+conditions+Tuesday%2C+Dec.+31%2C+and+were+feared+to+have+destroyed+many+properties+and+caused+fatalities.+%28State+Government+of+Victoria+via+AP%29+https%3A%2F%2Fcreativecommons.org%2Flicenses%2Fby%2F2.0%2F

AP

In this Monday, Dec. 30, 2019 photo provided by State Government of Victoria, a helicopter tackles a wildfire in East Gippsland, Victoria state, Australia. Wildfires burning across Australia's two most-populous states trapped residents of a seaside town in apocalyptic conditions Tuesday, Dec. 31, and were feared to have destroyed many properties and caused fatalities. (State Government of Victoria via AP) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Jose McDaniel, Staff Writer

California. Sounds great right? A state where people go to get away from their life, or perhaps a place where people go in order to get a better understanding of their self. A state full of opportunities, right? Well, it would be great if wildfires weren’t just another day for them. Millions of acres of land have been destroyed due to wildfires over the years, hurting both wildlife and the environment as a whole. 

California isn’t the only place suffering from these wildfires though. Australia is dealing with a major wildfire right now that has caused the death of at least 29 people, but that’s not even the worst of it.

Everything is hurting because of these wildfires: from people to wildlife, over ONE BILLION animals–even some favorite species such as kangaroos and koalas are in great danger. 

People and animals are being ripped away from their homes, as over 12 million acres of land have been destroyed. To put that into perspective, the biggest lone wildfire in the U.S., The Great Fire of 1910, destroyed “only” three million acres.

The wildfire in Australia is already over four times the size of the biggest wildfire in the U.S., which killed 87 people.

There are a number of reasons why these wildfires are breaking out and destroying the lives of people and animals.  Extreme heat, a prolonged drought, and strong winds are the combining factors that are fueling the fires. Australia is experiencing a heatwave with record breaking temperatures in mid-December, averaging 107.4 degrees Fahrenheit; as a result, the heat is only exacerbating the problem. 

There are a lot of things being done in order to assist victims. As a matter of fact, millions of dollars have been raised in order to assist the victims of the fires, to support the firefighters, and to compensate those who volunteer to help stop the fires from spreading.

What can you do to help Australia? Well, there isn’t much you can physically do being so far away, but there are some things that you could do from the safety of your home. First, you could consider donating to one of the multiple foundations that are helping Australia.

You could donate at the many GoFundMe sites that are being put up all over or you could donate to the Australian Red Cross. Many celebrities have also donated to help. For example, Ellen Degeneres created a GoFundMe in order to help out Australia with a goal of 5 million, and many other people have donated to it raised already 1.1 million dollars and still raising money.

Other celebrities who are helping out include Lizzo, who is currently touring Australia and urging fans to donate, and comedian Nick Kroll. Many other celebrities have also donated such as Chris Hemsworth, who has donated one million dollars, Kylie Jenner who has donated 1.5 million dollars, Selena Gomez who has donated three million dollars, and many others who have donated to help the cause.

Second, if you don’t have the financial ability to donate, then you could simply spread awareness about this tragic event and how others can help.

Some ways you could spread the word on what is going on in Australia is by using the hashtags that are being used to spread awareness. These hashtags include #AustralianBushfireDisaster and #AustraliaOnFire.

Whether you are only spreading the word, donating one dollar, or donating hundreds of dollars. Anything would help them.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the GENESIS staff. Email Jose McDaniel at [email protected]