Dozens of fires erupted in New South Wales, Australia, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency in November 2019. Fires rapidly spread across all states to become some of the most devastating on record. An area about the size of South Korea, roughly 25.5 million acres, has burned. Around 3,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged. As blazes intensified in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, thousands of people who were forced to evacuate sought shelter on beaches across New South Wales and Victoria.
While NSW has been the worst-affected, record high temperatures and other extreme weather conditions have also led to unprecedented wildfire devastation in other regions, including Queensland and Victoria.
Firefighters from around the world, including the United States and Canada, and members of the Australian Defence Force helped battle the blazes as they ravaged more than 42,000 square miles (27 million acres) of land across the country — an area about the size of the U.S. state of Virginia.
More than 1 billion mammals, birds, and reptiles likely lost their lives in the blazes, according to one estimate from the University of Sydney. Around 25,000 koalas were feared dead on Kangaroo Island. Eight thousand koalas, a third of all the koalas in New South Wales, are believed to have perished, and about 30 percent of the koalas’ habitat has also been wiped out. The devastation only adds to existing pressures on Australia’s unique ecosystems
Our Short-Documentary released on January 2020