Severe forest fires in many parts of Australia have been going on for months, and the latest statistics show there are still hundreds of flashpoints across Australia. Australia announced on january 6th that it would set up a new body to coordinate relief and reconstruction efforts in response to criticism of the government's disaster relief.
At least 24 people have been killed in forest fires that have spread across the country in recent months, Australian Prime Minister Alison Morrison has said. So far, the fire has been burning about 6 million hectares. Droughts and high temperatures have contributed to the fire, but the government has been criticized for its slow response and poor response.
September 6,2019- Australia's first bushfire in northern NSW. Most people don't expect it to be just the beginning. As of the end of December, there were more than 140 forest fires in New South Wales and Queensland alone, according to local media.
For months, there have been forest fires burning in almost every state in Australia, from the most economically developed and densely populated southeastern coast to Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Up to now, nearly 2000 houses have been burnt down as a result of the forest fire disaster.
The forest fire, which lasted for months, became Australia's worst-ever fire, bringing extinction disaster to animals living in vast forests. Australian ecologists estimate that at least 100 million wild animals have been buried in flames in NSW alone since September, including mammals, birds and reptiles. Australia's environmental department estimates that thousands of Australian national treasure-rated koalas have died from forest fires. The number of animals killed by forest fires in other Australian states is unclear, but experts estimate that the number of animals killed in the blaze could reach 1 billion.
Australia's months-long forest fires have released billions of tons of carbon dioxide, and it will take a century or more to absorb it, according to the group.
The forest fire also caused serious air pollution. Cities such as Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne continued to be shrouded in haze, with air quality data several times more than the official'dangerous'level at its worst. Local people were forced to reduce outdoor activities, masks sold out, and daily life was greatly affected.
Due to geography and climate, Australia enters the high forest fire season every July. In late August last year, the Australian Centre for Cooperative Research on Forest Fire and Natural Disasters released the Australian Seasonal Forest Fire Outlook report, warning that forest fire risk in the 2019 season could be devastating. But the report has not received enough attention. Richard Thornton, the agency's chief executive, told the media that \"the extreme drought caused by climate change is becoming more serious, and we and the fire department have given early warning that forest fire risk could reach a devastating level in 2019.\"
Meteorologists believe the unprecedented forest fire in 2019 and the extreme drought in 2018 all prove that Australia has become a victim of global warming. Australia's average surface temperature has risen by about 1 degree Celsius since 1910, according to the Australian Meteorological Agency. Since the 1950s, temperatures have been on the rise for every 10 years in the country compared to the previous decade.
David Bowman, director of the Centre for Fire Research at the University of Tasmania's Academy of Natural Sciences, analyzed the unprecedented amount of forest fires that have appeared across Australia for months, matching global warming. During the 2019 bushfire season, multiple extremes such as high winds and high-temperature dry weather occur at the same time and are accompanied by such a large number of forest fires that have shown a change in Australia's climate pattern. \"We don't have time to adapt to the forest fires caused by climate change,\" Bowman warned. The failure of Australia's government's climate policy will lead to an escalating disaster.
\"To the greatest disappointment of all, the authorities ignore global warming and lack a long-term strategy to prevent natural disasters such as forest fires,\" University of Sydney Business School professor Hans Hangzhike told People's Daily.
Some local media believe that avoiding climate change is the wrong policy choice for the Australian government. Experts believe that Australia's current government's conservative stance on climate change has deep economic factors. Energy sectors such as coal, oil and gas play an important role in the Australian economy, and the Australian government has rejected proposals to reduce the size of the coal industry and interest groups have been lobbying the Australian government to deny the impact of climate change. Currently, the Australian government does not recognize the direct link between the exacerbation of the fire crisis and global warming.
Experts say the Australian federal government has clearly underestimated the scale of the fire, has been slow to respond and has for a long time lacked co-ordination. The government has been widely criticised for its weak response to growing political debate and questions over the bush fires in australia.
After the forest fire, has been from the front line of firefighters reminded that last year the forest fire season came early, wide range, need to pay more attention to. However, these observations were not adopted by the authorities. Since 2016, Australia's emergency department has reportedly requested more resources, and the Australian National Air Fire Centre has specifically requested an additional $11 million ($1 in Australian dollars) a year to rent large fire fighters and form a team of large fire fighters, but the application has been delayed. Meanwhile, the federal government has more than halved its funding for them from 2003. In some places, firefighters have to rely on the crowd to buy basic fire fighting equipment.
Aside from the Australian government's misjudgment of the forest fire disaster, another important reason for this fire is the weak division of labor between the federal and local governments. Under Australian law, state and territorial governments are primarily responsible for natural disasters such as forest fires. Normally, if the local government does not request, the federal government will not provide additional support. In fact, the scale of last year's forest fires was well beyond the state-level government's capacity to respond, and it is urgent to strengthen coordination at the federal level.
Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wrote in media criticism that \"the government has shown a lack of impetus and lukewarm response to the forest fire crisis. Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has previously advised the government to coordinate fire fighting across the country. He said the current fire is already a national security issue, coordination of fire work should be led by the federal government, but the Australian government refused to adopt the proposal.
In Australia, the country fire department is the backbone of putting out the forest fire, the main members are volunteer firefighters, they are far more than professional firefighters. In New South Wales, for example, most of the 2,700 firefighters involved in fighting the blaze in December were volunteer firefighters. However, they cannot receive any subsidies from the fire department. Their employers pay their salaries during the mission, but last year's bush season was especially long, and it was hard for some small business owners to keep their employees working and fighting the fire. The federal government has been called on to grant subsidies to volunteer firefighters, but has been rejected.
Under the weight of public opinion, the Australian government announced the establishment of a new agency responsible for disaster relief and reconstruction on June 6 and promised to allocate A $2 billion in advance for relief efforts. The government also agreed to grant up to $6,000 in subsidies to volunteer firefighters and $11 million to the National Air Fire Centre. In addition, the Australian military organized a relief team of nearly 3,000 reservists, the first time in the country's history to mobilize reservists to participate in the forest fire relief. (T.L. Lau)