Late last year, news broke out about Australia burning, affecting 25. 5 million acres of land (roughly the size of South Korea), killing at least 27 people and more than a billion animals, and damaging around 2,000 homes. Among the deceased are volunteer firefighters.
Bushfires are nothing new to Australia and other parts of the world. Fire season typically starts in December, which is their hottest month. But the fire season came earlier than they had anticipated, beginning in November and spreading rapidly. The extreme heat and extreme conditions that led to the bushfire shouldn’t be a normal occurrence, and it shows that climate change is in function, according to Crystal Kolden, associate professor of Fire Science in the University of Idaho.
Because of this alarming situation, citizens should be more alert and prepared than ever in order to protect themselves, their families, and their properties.
Are the Fires Preventable?
This is a question largely asked since the news broke out, and the answer is yes, the fires could have been prevented.
And that makes this catastrophic incident worse. According to National Geographic, most wildfires are caused by people and thus preventable by people, too. Unattended flammable objects including lanterns, cigarettes, and heaters could be a catalyst for devastating bushfires. Meanwhile, climate change, which carries a major role in the early start of the fires, is known to be prevented by people as well.
Chris Dickman, an ecologist in the University of Sydney, said that Australia’s bushfires are probably what climate change may look like for the other parts of the world.
The public has also voiced out their protest against the actions that contribute to climate change. On January 10th, demonstrators demanded action against climate change, and this includes stopping fossil fuel subsidies. They have also called for their Prime Minister to step down.
How to Prevent Bushfires
Acts that prevent bushfires start at home. As mentioned, unattended flammable objects are capable of causing countrywide fires, so be attentive of those objects. Be careful when you use gas lanterns, stoves, and heaters. Lighting and heating devices must be cooled down first before they are refueled. Flammable liquids must not be spilled and placed close to appliances.
After smoking a cigarette, make sure the light is totally extinguished before throwing it away. Never put away cigarettes, matches, and other smoking materials from moving automobiles or on stationary grounds.
When you see a fire nearby, especially one that seems out of control, immediately call your emergency hotline to report it. If you’re at a campsite and you lit a campfire, completely extinguish the fires first before you sleep or depart. Stir the ashes cold as well to be certain that their heat won’t light up the fire again.
Abide by your ordinances regarding burning yard waste. Keep away flammables from the yard when you burn your rubbish and avoid doing it during windy weathers. Keep water, fire retardant, and a shovel nearby to keep fires under control.
Prepare Your Home
Homes and valuable real estate properties should also be protected and prepared in case of a fire. Remove anything that can spread flames, such as firewood and fuel cans, and shut off natural gas, fuel oil supplies, or propane. Close all doors and windows, and fill tubs, pools, or any large containers with water in order to slow down or stop the spread of fires. Having an emergency plan along with fire preventive measures will ensure that your home, land, and family in Burnside or any other place in Australia will always be safe.
Now that we’ve been enlightened on how bushfires can start and be prevented, let’s practice becoming on guard and responsible. Let’s further educate ourselves about climate change, observe discipline, and maintain the beauty of our hometowns and country.