Wildlife

Further Effects of Australian Wildfires

Many waterways in Australia that have been inundated with ash and debris following the devastating bush fires this spring and summer, killing fish and other aquatic life and fouling drinking water supplies. The thick dark mud flowing into creeks and streams is killing insect larvae, tadpoles, freshwater shrine, crayfish oysters along with many protected species of fish. One of the primary impacts of the large pulse of ash was a rapid decline in dissolved oxygen levels in the water.

Environment

Wildfires – Australia

Smoke pollution that blanketed Australia for months during the bushfire crisis caused 416 deaths and thousands of hospitalisations, according to research published in the Medical Journal of Australia.Smoke was responsible for 1,124 cardiovascular-related hospital admissions, 2,027 respiratory-related hospital admissions, and 1,305 asthma-related emergency room admissions, according to the study. Most cases were in New South Wales, where thousands of residents were forced to flee their homes.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Confirming what had been widely suspected, researchers have found that human-caused climate change had an impact on Australia’s recent devastating wildfires, making the extremely high-risk conditions that led to widespread burning at least 30 percent more likely than in a world without global warming.

The research is the latest in a growing subfield of climate science: attribution studies that look for links, or the lack of them, between climate change and specific weather-related events, often within weeks of an event. The studies usually compare models of current conditions to those of the world around 1900, before large-scale emissions of carbon dioxide and other planet-warming gases began.

Record warmth and dryness last year led to a severe wildfire outbreak in Australia, with an estimated 50 million acres burned, including more than 16 million acres in the southeastern part of the country, which was most affected. All told, at least 34 people were killed and nearly 6,000 homes and other structures were destroyed.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

Australia’s state hardest-hit by the massive wildfires that raged for months is now blaze-free for the first time in more than 240 days.

Wildfires – California

A quickly moving wildfire burned 175 acres in Norco Tuesday, forcing the evacuation of 1,500 residents and threatening an estimated 500 homes, according to Cal Fire.

Global Warming

Australian summers grow longer due to climate change

Australian summers are lengthening by a month or more while winters are getting shorter due to climate change, according to an analysis by a leading think tank released Monday.

The Australia Institute said large swathes of the country were experiencing an additional 31 days of summer temperatures each year compared to the 1950s.

While Sydney was just under the average with an extra 28 hot days a year, Melbourne added 38 warmer days since the middle of the 20th century.

In some regional areas ravaged by bushfires in recent months, such as the New South Wales town of Port Macquarie, residents are now experiencing seven more weeks of typical summer temperatures.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

In a post-mortem of the Australian bushfires, which raged for five months, scientists have concluded that their intensity and duration far surpassed what climate models had predicted, according to a study published yesterday in Nature Climate Change.

The bushfires were far more catastrophic than any climate crisis models out there, leading the scientists to call the devastation, “a fiery wake-up call for climate science,” as the BBC reported.

The study said that the bushfires were “unprecedented” after they burned more than one-fifth of the country’s forests.

In fact, the models were so far off target that not only did they say that fires of such magnitude could not happen this year, but they predicted that fires of this magnitude would not happen before the year 2100.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

After months of bushfires raging across the Australian coast, elated firefighters have just announced that they have managed to contain all of the fires. The news comes after a week of historic rainfall in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Although there are still 24 active fires burning in the region, they are small enough for firefighters to manage accordingly.

Wildlife

Australia’s Bushfires Brought 113 Species Closer to Extinction

On Tuesday, the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment released a list of 113 species with the highest urgent need for conservation action due to the damage they’ve suffered from this tragic situation. The list includes species such as the Kangaroo Island dunnart and Pugh’s frog, both of which are “at imminent risk of extinction,” per the report, because of how much habitat the fires destroyed.

These species were endangered before this year’s bushfire season kicked off. Now, things have gotten worse when they need to be getting better. Most have lost at least 30 percent of their range, but many have lost even more. The endemic red browed treecreeper, for instance, saw almost half of its range burn. This priority list features animals such as the golden-tipped bat, which likes to dwell in the forests and caves of the fire-stricken eastern coast of Australia, is among those included. This list is focusing on species with key functions in the ecosystem.

Many of the other species on the list—13 birds, 19 mammals, 20 reptiles, 17 frogs, five invertebrae, 22 crayfish, and 17 freshwater fish—also face severe habitat disruption.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

At least one home was lost in a bushfire which descended on the Western Australian town of Katanning on Saturday. The bushfire has burned through about 4,500 hectares after being sparked by lightning on Friday. The fire tore through farmland as it approached the town of more than 3,500 people in WA’s Great Southern region in the afternoon. There were also reports farming machinery, sheds and infrastructure were lost in the blaze.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone (tc) 14s (Damien), located approximately 160 nm northwest of Port Hedland, Australia, is tracking southwestward at 04 knots

NewsBytes:

Australia – Much of Australia’s wildfire-ravaged east coast was drenched on Friday by the biggest rainfall in almost 20 years, dousing some of the most dangerous blazes and providing welcome relief to farmers battling an extended drought. The downpour came with its own risks – officials warned of flash floods and landslides across New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state – but was generally greeted jubilantly after months of devastating bushfires.

Southeast USA – A powerful winter storm raked the Southeast on Thursday with high winds, rain and floods that killed at least four people and injured several more across a dozen states. Rescue crews repeatedly pulled people from cars that got stuck in high water, but couldn’t reach a person whose vehicle disappeared into a rain-swollen creek. The storm front destroyed mobile homes in Mississippi and Alabama, caused mudslides in Tennessee and Kentucky and flooded communities that shoulder waterways across the Appalachian region. In Florida, high winds prompted the closure of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge spanning Tampa Bay, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Tornado watches were in effect Thursday night from northern Florida up through North Carolina.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

More homes are believed to have been destroyed by bushfires in southeastern NSW where hundreds of properties have already been lost in blazes this summer.

Strong winds and high temperatures on Saturday night pushed the massive 177,000-hectare Border fire north towards Bega Valley while three separate blazes burning southwest of the region merged into one.

There were 70 fires burning in NSW as of Sunday evening with 30 not yet contained. There are 2,200 firefighters in the field.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Tanzania – At least thirteen people have died and around 15 000 people have been left homeless after flash floods in Iringa and Lindi in southern Tanzania.

Australia – Adelaide and parts of South Australia were battered by thunderstorms and heavy rainfall with flash floods in some areas. Power was cut to several thousand homes.

Canada – Relentless rain along British Columbia’s southern coast has closed roads, swollen rivers and prompted a state of local emergency in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. A number of homes had to be evacuated.

USA – Major flooding and landslides have been reported in Western Washington. Rivers continue to rise with potential for moderate to major flooding in some areas, including the Snohomish River which is now above 27 feet. Stillaguamish River near Granite falls reported major flooding. King, Lewis and Skagit counties remain under flood watch until Sunday morning.

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Wildlife

Half a Billion Animals Killed in Australia Wildfires

Ecologists now say wildfires that have scorched huge swaths of Australia have killed half a billion animals, revising a previous estimate of more than 2 billion animals killed. Nearly a third of the continent’s koalas has been wiped out—and some other species face total extermination as high temperatures and drought fuel the blazes. “Many of the affected animals are likely to have been killed directly by the fires, with others succumbing later due to the depletion of food and shelter resources and predation from introduced feral cats and red foxes,” the team from University of Sydney said.

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Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

A wildfire sparked by a military helicopter helping firefighting efforts was blazing out of control and threatening homes on the outskirts of Australia’s capital on Wednesday as fire danger escalated across the country’s southeast.

The fire had spread over 23,500 acres since it was started by a transport helicopter landing light that ignited grass in a national park south of Canberra on Monday afternoon, authorities said.