Australia Faces Worst Fire Season on Record

Kerry Matthews, Staff writer

The recent fires in Australia are some of the worst in the last few decades, and they do not seem to be letting up. The damage is extensive across all states and territories, especially New South Wales. 

The acres burned is estimated to be over 27 million. In comparison, California’s fires in 2018 took around 1 million acres and the Amazonian fires burned about 17 million acres. Over 3,000 homes have been destroyed, at least 28 people have been killed, and more than 1 billion animals have died. 

The fire season in Australia started in November and has been causing extreme damage throughout these recent months. Currently, over 80 fires are still burning across Australia. 

The severity of the situation has led to intervention from other countries who have provided firefighters, including the United States, as well as large donations from figures like Nicole Kidman and Chris Hemsworth.

Recent thunderstorms have provided some relief for firefighters and civilians, but the rain brings new risks like flash flooding and water pollution from the debris. Additionally, a common strategy the firefighters use is setting smaller, more manageable fires in front of the larger fires in order to get rid of their fuel, like grass and plants, but they are unable to do this because the rain puts out the smaller fires. 

There are many causes behind these fires. Australia’s dry, hot weather means that every year they have a fire season, but the effects of climate change have exacerbated the conditions. Australia is suffering an extreme drought, is having some of its highest temperatures on record, and is experiencing strong winds that spread the fires. The precise causes of the fires are often natural, such as lightning strikes, but many people have been found responsible for starting the fires themselves with at least 24 charged. 

The effects on animals are particularly serious. Close to a third of koalas were killed in the fires, and a third of their habitat was burned. Other species, particularly frogs and birds, live in very niche areas and are now in danger of going extinct. The true extent of the damage cannot be measured fully until all the fires are put out. 

Firefighters have been and are continuing to work to put out these fires, and other organizations, like Wildlife Parks, are trying to provide help to the animals and other victims of the fires. Unfortunately, Australia’s summer season will continue for months and may have not even reached peak temperatures yet.

If you are able to, here are some organizations that you can donate to in order to help Australia:

Australian Red Cross:

Salvation Army Australia:

NSW Rural Fire Service:

St. Vincent de Paul Society Australia:

Organizations devoted to animal population: 

Port Macquarie Koala Hospital:


RSPCA New South Wales:

Australian Koala Foundation:

Koalas in Care Inc.:

Several celebrities and smaller organizations have made gofundme pages, and other large foundations, like the World Wildlife Fund, have donation information on their websites. Even small amounts can add up, so for the people, animals and forests of Australia, donate if you can.