Bush fires are common and somewhat expected over the summer period in Australia, but the country has never seen something of this size and scale of distraction before. An area the size of South Korea has been destroyed and it is estimated that half a billion animals have been killed, including 25,000 Koalas. Although rain has fallen over the effected areas in the last couple of days, those fighting the flames claim that it is not enough and conditions are set to get even worse.
Multiple towns have been evacuated and 25 people have been killed, including 3 volunteer fire fighters. Over 2000 homes in New South Wales have been destroyed, and lots more damaged by the flames. There is concerns that the temperatures are set to rise again by the end of this week, but there is also hope that with the first cyclone of the season hitting last week that more rain could be on the way. More than 2600 firefighters have been deployed in attempt to keep the flames away from populated areas and troops have been called in to assist. The flames have caused the skies to turn red in places with smoke reaching as far away as New Zealand.
To put the scale of the fire into perspective, here is a map of the flames spread put over a map of the UK. Some people have argued that if a fire of this size was happening in the UK, a lot more would be getting done to help. A number of people have drawn comparisons to the Notre Dame fire where millions of pounds were raised within hours and there was international uproar. Why hasn’t there been the same reaction to the Australia fires?