Fires in Australia Continue to Burn


by Mark L. Watson

Clara Mitchell, Writer

In Australia, deadly fires, which have killed at least 25 people, began in September of 2019. According to, “Every state and territory in Australia has experienced fires this summer. But the biggest fires burn along stretches of the eastern and southern coast, where most of the population lives. This includes areas around Sydney and Adelaide.” So far, at least 15.6 million acres of land have burned, and thousands of people have lost their homes.

Some of these fires were caused by lightning, sparks, and other natural causes, but some were started intentionally. Some by kids playing with fire, and some by people generally over the age of 30 with harmful intent. “The general mayhem of fighting bushfires, the evacuation of people, enables them to be furtive. They know they’re not likely to be identified. It’s like planting a tree in a forest,” says Dr. Read, co-director of Australia’s National Centre for Research in Bushfire and Arson. A few people have admitted to starting the fires out of anger in their personal lives. 

The current fires are more severe than fires in the past due to the rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Firefighters, as well as thousands of volunteer firefighters, are doing everything they can to stop the fires, by spraying water as well as fire retardant from helicopters. 

Two firefighters, Andrew O’Dwyer and Geoffrey Keaton died when their truck rolled off the road after being hit by a fallen tree while fighting the fires. Both had young children. 

Samuel McPaul, a 28-year old member of Morven Rural Fire Brigade who had recently gotten married and was expecting his first child in May, died when the fire truck his crew was operating rolled over caused by the extreme winds associated with the fire. 

Scott Morrison, Australia’s Prime Minister, says “When people join these organisations, they do it to protect their community and do it out of a sense of great service.” Morrison announced that volunteer firefighters will get four weeks of a paid leave.

What can you do to help? Learn more about climate change and the increasing amounts of CO2 in the air, and learn how you can reduce carbon emissions.

If you’re thinking about donating to the fire relief organizations, here’s where you can donate:

For fire departments in Victoria: 

For fire departments in New South Wales:

To donate to the families of the firefighters that have died while on duty: