Australia On Fire #35

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Deepnews Digest #35

Australia On Fire

Bushfires have been smoldering in Australia for weeks, though continued blazes demanded the entire world’s attention this week. Thousands of tourists were trapped on a beach that sparked an evacuation effort and the stories of animals who have lost their homes have broken hearts on social media. Beyond those short posts, here are 25 articles gathered by the Deepnews Scoring Algorithm, which feature on the ground reporting on the fires, their causes and the victims whose lives have been shook.

Story Source
The Guardian
The fire situation in eastern Australia continues to rapidly escalate.

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The Conversation
The year 2019 might well be remembered as the year the world caught fire. Some 2.9 million hectares of eastern Australia have been incinerated in the past few months, an area roughly the same size as Belgium. Fires in the Amazon, the Arctic, and California captured global attention.

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Reuters
While some restock supplies in order to bunker down, PM says crisis likely to last months.

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The Guardian
At least 17 people have died in bushfires on the east coast of Australia since the summer season began in October.

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Asia Times
With thousands already in evacuation centers, the devastating bushfires are expected to spread and intensify.

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AP
Australia’s unprecedented wildfires are supercharged thanks to climate change, the type of trees catching fire and weather, experts say.

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The Age
As Australia counted down to the New Year, hundreds of exhausted fire refugees huddled in a darkened school hall were given 20 minutes to make a devil’s choice.

Editor’s Note: Beyond pictures of roaring fires and worries about the policies that led to this point, the bushfires are human stories. Here Chip Le Grand of The Age follows the story of one family that fled from their home in Corryong, Victoria.

NPR
Fire response crews monitor the blazes Thursday in East Gippsland, Australia, where deadly bushfires have destroyed properties and prompted warnings from local authorities.

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The National
The crisis escalated severely this week, with at least seven people killed in less than 48 hours.

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Washington Post
BRUNY ISLAND, Tasmania — Even before the ocean caught fever and reached temperatures no one had ever seen, Australia’s ancient giant kelp was cooked.

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ABC Australia
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is facing pressure from within his own ranks to pay volunteer firefighters, as one Minister questions the sustainability of unpaid brigades working for months on end.

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CNN International
I’m visiting my mother in the little country town where I grew up in Gippsland, a region of Australia that’s currently on fire. That’s not very specific, so let me narrow it down: I’m in one of the south-easternmost parts of Australia that is currently on fire.

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News.com.au
The moment a heroic firefighter refused to shake Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s hand has been caught on camera. The incident occurred yesterday during Mr Morrison’s visit to fire-ravaged Cobargo, a tiny village in the NSW Bega Valley that was decimated by the deadly New Year’s Eve fires, which also killed local father and son Robert and Patrick Salway.

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Australian Associated Press
A NSW dairy-turned-beef farmer’s story of having to shoot his cattle has made world headlines in the wake of the Australian bushfire crisis.

Editor’s Note: A couple stories on this list touch on the subject of animals, which include Australia’s famous wildlife but also farm animals. Here the Australian Associated Press follows up on a story that was widely shared online, interviewing the farmer in New South Wales.

Daily Telegraph
The pregnant and “broken” widow of a Cobargo man killed with his father battling to save their property has made a heartbreaking post to her husband on behalf of herself and the couple’s young son.

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The Guardian
Thousands of people have fled to the lake and ocean in Mallacoota, as bushfires hit the Gippsland town.

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Australian Financial Review
The 2010s were a “decade of disappointment”, said Benson, now 15 and a national co-ordinator for the youth climate organisation Fridays for Future. If the world is to stave off further disasters, the next decade must be one of unprecedented climate action, she said.

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SBS Australia
The random destruction across the Adelaide Hills bushfire is added “torture” for those involved, but the South Australian spirit to carry on and rebuild remains strong, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.

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NBC News
More than 100 bushfires are raging in Australia as the continent swelters under record-setting heat, a double whammy of extremes that has amplified scrutiny of what experts say is stark inaction from the Australian government on climate change.

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Irish Independent
Australia deployed ships and aircraft yesterday to help towns devastated by bushfires that have left at least 17 people dead nationwide and destroyed more than 1,200 homes.

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Geelong Advertiser
Emergency Services Minister and Bellarine MP Lisa Neville is tasked with managing the state’s response with grave fears held for 28 missing Victorians.

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Stuff
Concerns have been raised about the effects of smoke haze from Australia’s bushfires shrouding Nelson skies.

Editor’s Note: The fires from Australia are also having consequences for Australia’s neighbor, New Zealand. Here Amy Ridout and Katy Jones report from Nelson, in New Zealand’s Tasman district, about air quality.

Ars Technica
From a physics and chemistry standpoint, fire is an incredibly complicated phenomenon—so much so that 19th century physicist Michael Faraday built an entire series of six lectures around the flame of a single candle at the Royal Institution in 1848. Fuel, heat, and oxygen, combined under the right conditions, ignite into a sustained chemical reaction: fire. Add in factors like conduction, convection, radiation, and any number of environmental factors, and that fire can rapidly spread out of control.

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South China Morning Post
Communities across regional Australia spent the first day of the new year coming to terms with the destruction wrought by raging bush fires that have destroyed hundreds of homes and left at least nine people dead.

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CBS News
As apocalyptic wildfires continue to rage across Australia, the loss of life in the region is reaching staggering numbers. Ecologists at the University of Sydney now estimate that nearly half a billion animals and plants have been wiped out since the fires began several months ago.

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