Australian bushfires affect environment

Starting in late 2019 and continuing into 2020, the Australian bushfires began. With more than 16 million acres of land on fire, many nations are bringing attention to it.
According to the “New York Times,” “About 16 million acres have burned in New South Wales and Victoria, where the crisis is centered. That’s an area about the size of West Virginia. Millions more acres have burned in other parts of the country.”
Due to the length of the fires and the amount of land that has already been consumed by flames, there are an abundance of long term and short term effects that occur.
“Long term, hopefully [Australia] bounce[s] back, but the problem with things like this is that, yes these things happen naturally, but the extent of this one, from the news stories that we’ve heard, is that it’s much more than just regular bushfires,” said environmental science teacher Joseph Rogalski. “[When] we talk about bouncing back, I think about things like coral reefs and how much of the coral reefs are dying. Having done my own graduate research on this stuff, even in my own in my own aquarium, I see how if corals start to die, how long it takes to grow back. Even in my small aquarium, it’s not happening. I wonder if these fires in Australia are kind of the same thing on land.”
“For short term effects, I would say, the places where it’s happening, the wildlife wouldn’t be getting enough resources or they would be displaced to different places. Other effects would be air pollution and what happens to all of the smoke and smog in the area. Also the loss of homes of people if that’s places where they’re impacted, and soil liability. So with the bushfires eliminating lots of the plants, that soil erosion would be more,” said science teacher Nathania Busse.
With the amount of land being burned, there are certain chemicals that get released into the air that can impact the environment greatly.
“You certainly have all the carbon dioxide and other climate change gases that are being released from these fires. The idea that carbon neutrality, where you have all these trees that capture all that carbon, as they burn they’re releasing it back into the atmosphere, so just the release of climate change gases is extreme,” Rogalski said.
Despite these fires not being in the United States, many believe it is important for people to know about these fires and the types of effects it has on the environment.
“[It’s important to educate people] for the same reasons it’s important to be knowledgeable about everything, even if you don’t like it. You don’t have to like it, and no you’re not going to use this every day, but there are pieces that are important. Even if you don’t care about Australian bushfires, our politicians will be talking about it, if they’re not already, in 10 years it will be a major issue. So, I think it is important to understand the grand scheme of what’s going on so you can be informed citizens,” Rogalski said.
Students throughout the school also believe that people should be informed about the recent Australian fires.
“I think it’s really important to educate people on wildfires because you never know what will happen, and if you witness one in real life you need to know what to do just in case something bad happens,” said senior Kristen Monaco, “Also, people should be educated on wildfires because if they know what’s going on then they’re able to donate money toward it, so when the places experiencing the fires receive money they have more materials to help prevent, slow down, or even stop the wildfires.”