[481] The Royal Commission’s report was presented to the Governor-General on 28 October 2020 and published on 30 October 2020. [408][409][410][391][8] The crisis has led to calls for more action to combat climate change. [159] On 10 February 2020, NSW Rural Fire Service announced a torrential rain event over the preceding week had extinguished the Green Wattle Creek fire. Hot and windy conditions are forecast to return to many parts of New South Wales this weekend and authorities in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) have declared a state of emergency as massive bushfires rage south of Canberra. [38], Numerous interstate agencies deployed firefighting resources into New South Wales, including several hundred firefighters from the Victorian Country Fire Authority,[302] along with crews from the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade,[303] the South Australian Country Fire Service,[304] the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service,[304] the South Australian Department of Environment and Water,[304] and the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service. Multiple states of emergency were declared across New South Wales,[33][34][35] Victoria,[36] and the Australian Capital Territory. Several other countries have offered assistance: Australia is one of the most fire-prone countries on earth, and bushfires form part of the natural cycle of its landscapes. But the biggest fires burn along stretches of the eastern and southern coast, where most of the population lives. Activities the ADF has undertaken as part of the Operation have included Air Force aircraft transporting firefighters and their equipment interstate, Army and Navy helicopters transporting firefighters, conducting night fire mapping, impact assessments and search and rescue flights, use of various defence facilities as coordination and information centres and for catering and accommodation for firefighters, liaison between state and federal government services, reloading and refuelling for waterbombing aircraft, deployment of personnel to assess fire damage and severity, and provision of humanitarian supplies. [132] With the situation worsening, repeated calls from competitors (most of which were European-based) to cancel the event prevailed with the event cancelled on 12 November. Saturday December 19 2020, 12.01am, The Times. [392] According to ABC News, arson has been of little impact – accounting for around 1% of NSW fires and 0.3% of Victorian fires by 18 January 2020. © 2020 BBC. Lighting strikes subsequently started multiple fires in Southwest Tasmania. Elsewhere in South Australia, the Cudlee Creek fire is reported to have destroyed more than 80 homes in the Adelaide Hills region in late December. The fire was believed to have started from a sparking electrical transformer. [511] A telethon conducted with the Sydney New Year's Eve fireworks raised more than A$2 million. On 1 December 2019 WWF-Australia launched the "Towards Two Billion Trees" plan to aid the koala bushfire recovery. These fires are yet to end and danger is still before us in many, many places, but today we gather to mourn, honour, reflect and begin to learn from the black summer that continues. This caused mass damage all around the country with fires in each state and territory. [503][495][494] The Wiggles performed a concert on 17 and 18 January,[504] and on 16 February at Stadium Australia in Sydney, the Fire Fight Australia concert featured local and international acts. In June 2019, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service acting director warned of the potential for an early start to the bushfire season which normally starts in August. Queensland's chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, urged residents to stay indoors and to not physically exert themselves. [307] A joint operation by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and NSW Rural Fire Service was mounted to protect the critically endangered Wollemia pines growing in Wollemi National Park. [24] At its peak, air quality dropped to hazardous levels in all southern and eastern states. "[411] Originally downplaying the role of climate change in causing the fires,[412] Prime Minister Morrison eventually conceded that climate change was one of "many factors" involved and added that Australia was "playing its part" in the international effort against climate change. [512], Irish YouTuber Jacksepticeye raised over $200,000 on 26 January through a charity live stream. It was reported by news.com.au that "Some bushfire maps have been criticised for misleading people about the location and size of the fires, with a map used by the ABC in the US appearing to show the entire east coast of Australia on fire, as well as a strange line of fires through the centre of the country... "[431] One image created by Anthony Hearsey spread widely on Twitter and by celebrities including Rihanna was wrongly interpreted as a map showing the live extent of fires, when in fact it sought to present one month of data of locations where fire was detected, according to NASA's Fire Information for Resource Management System. [424] Despite evidence to suggest that fuel loads played a minimal role in the 2019–20 Australian fires, there are calls to open up Australian protected lands to industry, particularly logging and grazing, to reduce fire fuel, with these calls having so far mainly stemmed from individuals and businesses with interests in such industries, and have resulted in the circulation of large amounts of disinformation.[424][429][430]. [72] In comparison, the 2018 California wildfires consumed 800,000 hectares (2,000,000 acres) and the 2019 Amazon rainforest wildfires burnt 900,000 hectares (2,200,000 acres) of land. [185] A number of high country huts, including Wolgal Hut and Pattinsons Hut near Kiandra, were also feared to have been destroyed. He also stated that "not only has our budget not been cut, we are enjoying record budgets. As of Feb. 15, 2020, more than 46 million acres (72,000 square miles) of land were burned in thousands of fires since June 2019. Videos posted on social media showed efforts to rescue koalas which survived the blazes. ", "We are seeing the very worst of our scientific predictions come to pass in these bushfires", "The truth about Australia's fires – arsonists aren't responsible for many this season", "Media reaction: Australia's bushfires and climate change", "Legal action taken against 183 people this bushfire season", "Separating Fact From Fiction: A Breakdown Of The Small Role Arson Played This Bushfire Season", "Drought now officially our worst on record", "Australia records three years of hotter than average monthly temperatures", "Fire in NSW leaves more than 2,000 homes damaged or destroyed as authorities brace for bad conditions", "Hasta la vista El Nino – but don't hold out for 'normal' weather just yet", "Water resources minister 'totally' accepts drought linked to climate change", "NSW Government says entire state in drought, new DPI figures reveal full extent of big dry", "Climate change impacts on fire-weather in south-east Australia", "Climate change is one factor affecting how fires in Australia burn, regardless of whether arsonists or lightning started them", "Australia ranked worst of 57 countries on climate change policy", "Australian PM Downplays Climate Change as Cause of Deadly Fires", "Scott Morrison says climate change 'contributed' to bushfires", "Tony Abbott, former Australian PM, tells Israeli radio the world is 'in the grip of a climate cult, "Malcolm Turnbull says Liberals' struggles with climate denial are hurting Australia", "Bushfire preparations stymied by climate change deniers in Government, says small business lobby", "NSW accepts all 76 recommendations of inquiry into summer bushfires and admits link to climate change", "Melbourne climate change protest not appropriate: Daniel Andrews", "What is the evidence behind hazard-reduction burning? The fire had burnt more than 60,000 hectares (150,000 acres) and was out of control. (CNN) Australia is being ravaged by the worst wildfires seen in decades, with large swaths of the country devastated since the fire season began in late July. As of 14 January 2020[update], 18.626 million hectares (46.03 million acres) was burnt or is burning across all Australian states and territories. Around 4 am on 31 December, the fire had crossed the Princes Highway near Mogo, and the highway was closed between Batemans Bay and Moruya. How is this possible? At least 33 people have been killed - including four firefighters - and more than 11 million hectares (110,000 sq km or 27.2 million acres) of bush, forest and parks across Australia has burned. The tornado then impacted a crew of firefighters working to protect a property, flipping their tanker over and trapping the crew inside, who were then overrun by fire. [313][314], On 5 December 2019, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) commenced Operation Bushfire Assist to support state fire services in logistics, planning, capability, and operational support. [370] The women-led Teduray people of Maguindanao initiated a sacred rain-making ritual for Australian victims, calling on the fire goddess Frayag Sarif's intercession to bring rain to the country. Recent projections of fire weather (Lucas, et al., 2007)[9] suggest that fire seasons will start earlier, end slightly later, and generally be more intense. [518][519], Smoke cloud covering the South Island of New Zealand on 1 January 2020; landmasses outlined in blue, Maximum temperature deciles, January to November 2019, Rainfall deciles, January to November 2019. As a result, all coastal regions suffer from forest fires. Authorities stated that any koalas taken to the mainland for treatment cannot return to the island in case they bring diseases back with them. [272] Scientific experts and land management agencies agree that severely below average fuel moisture attributed to record-breaking temperatures and drought, accompanied by severe fire weather, are the primary causes of the 2019–20 Australian bushfire season, and that these are likely to have been exacerbated by long-term trends of warmer and dryer weather observed over the Australian land mass. Fanned by near catastrophic conditions, the fire grew considerably on 8 November 2019 and consumed nearly everything in its path. In eastern and north-eastern Victoria large areas of forest burnt out of control for four weeks before the fires emerged from the forests in late December. [372], The United Arab Emirates sent 200 volunteers from the Emirates Red Crescent to help fight the fire, including Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi. [169], On 9 February 2020, NSW Rural Fire Service announced a torrential rain event over the preceding week had extinguished both the Morton and Currowan fires,[91] with the latter having burnt 499,621 hectares (1,234,590 acres) over 74 days and destroying 312 homes. [259], On 27 January 2020 a bushfire started in the Orroral Valley in the Namadgi National Park. Even in previous major fire years, only around two percent of Australia's temperate forests have burned. [241] A local politician, firefighters, farmers and tourism operators called on Western Australian Emergency Minister Fran Logan to invest in local firefighting assets for the area to make sure the tourist destination was properly protected. The fire impacted a large industrial area and threatened numerous properties before being brought under control by 9:30 pm. 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