What Is Causing The Deadly Australian Bushfire And Bushfire Flames?
12.35 million acres of land have been burnt by the bushfire so far. To put it into perspective, that’s almost twice the size of Belgium. Bushfire flames are reaching heights of up to 70 meters, that’s taller than the Sydney Opera House. The fires are not restricted to one location but are raging across the country. Many people wonder what exactly has caused these bushfires. It can’t be pinned down to one key event, but rather a culmination of key factors.
1. Heat Waves
While bushfire season is not new in Australia, the summer of 2019 has been the hottest and driest in the country’s history. The combination of drought, heatwaves, and strong winds has exacerbated the situation. The heatwaves caused bushfires in many Australian states, and continues to become a hazard.
2. Wind Speed
The wind is a critical factor in spreading bushfires in Australia by acting like fresh fuel to the flares and igniting them further. Wind also advances the extent of fire by spotting, which is a process of burning embers being carried into the air. When the speed of winds are below 12-15 km/hour, the wind speeds are low and can limit the spread of the fire. Any higher and the fuel load can burn faster and further. The bushfire flames can even join with other fires, and create larger fires which can devastate more communities.
3. Cyclical Effect
The smoke from bushfires generates its own weather sparking thunderstorms, lightning and strong winds which causes even more wildfires. This is caused by the bushfire flames. As a result, a horrible climate is created. The fires are so bad, that even firefighters from California are coming over to Australia to assist.
4. Climate Change
Scientists and environmentalists have been predicting this disaster for years and warn that these fires will become more frequent due to climate change. The topic of climate change always ends up in controversy with many deniers existing even now. But the fact is that Australia’s average surface air temperature has increased by 1% since 1910. Back in 2013, the heat hit such unprecedented levels that a new colour contour was added on the map. This means that the bushfire seasons are beginning earlier and are ending later than usual.