With the start of the new year, let us take a look at the wildfires of 2019 that ravaged the world. From Siberia to Australia, all nations have experienced record-breaking wildfires caused due to various reasons ranging from dry lightning to record-breaking heat in some places. While some fires like the recent one in Australia have claimed lives and other just engulfed buildings and did not claim any lives.
In early and mid-2019, Australia also suffered from bushfires, separate from the major bushfires that they are suffering from now. In March of 2019, dry lightning lit several fires in the East of Victoria, which is a state in Australia. The bushfire that lasted for two days as a result at the Bunyip State Park destroyed 29 houses and 67 outbuildings were lost to the fire before it could be brought under control.
Sometime in late January 2019, lightning strikes caused bushfires in Tasmania. This particular fire claimed four houses including Churchill's hut which was built in 1920 by an Elias Churchill.
January 2019 also saw bushfires in southwestern Australia caused by a major heatwave. The fire that took place near Collie which had put all the residents at risk. There were fires in the month of February as well in Forrestdale Lake nature reserve in that had put several suburbs at risk.
Fires in the Amazon rainforest and the Amazon Biome spanning Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru made headlines for a long time in the international media. During the tropical dry season, the fires occur in the Amazon because farmers use slash-and-burn methods of agriculture to clear land for use.
The Amazon rainforest is the world's largest carbon sink and plays a very important role in controlling global warming and its negative effects.
According to reports, by August 29, there were 80,000 fires all across Brazil which is a 77% increase from last year. The intensity and longevity of the fire were also aided by an unusually long dry season. The fires burnt 9,060 square kilometres of the land most of it being forest.
The Siberian wildfires as they are being called began on July 2019 in poorly accessible areas of northern Krasnoyarsk Krai, the Sakha Republic and Zabaykalsky Krai, all in Siberia, Russia. There were no deaths due to the fires. By the end of the month of July, the fires spanned 2.6 million hectares.
The smoke released by the wildfires affected the air quality of much of Siberia and even air travel was disrupted. As of August 6, 161 fires were still active and being fought by firefighters and the other fires were solely being monitored because the fires were in remote areas.
Investigations revealed that the fires may have been started in order to hide illegal logging operations.
California saw 7,860 fires as estimated by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the US Forest Fire services. According to reports all the fires encompassed 259,823 acres. The largest fire of the year called the Kincade Fire became the largest fire in 2019 burning 77,000 acres of land by November 6.
As of now, the bushfires in Australia has already claimed the lives of 25 people. The bushfire is predominantly worse than previous years due to record-breaking heat and drought as well as dry lightning strikes. The fires greatly affected the state of New South Wales as well as eastern and north-eastern Victoria.
Fire crews from all over Australia were called in to help relive the exhausted local crews but even that was not enough. As a result, hundreds of volunteer firefighters have had to fight the blazes to protect the Australian people. As of now, the fires have already burned 16,000,000 acres of land.
In addition, thousands of koalas are feared to have died in a wildfire-ravaged area north of Sydney, further diminishing Australia’s iconic marsupial, while the fire danger accelerated Saturday in the country’s east as temperatures soared. The mid-north coast of New South Wales was home to up to 28,000 koalas, but wildfires in the area in recent months have significantly reduced their population.