A 63-year-old man died of a heart attack while trying to put out the flames engulfing his home, with a bucket of water. The second death, a firefighter, was the result of a plane crash while attempting to drop water on flames. Along with the deaths, there have been at least five people who have been hospitalized for smoke inhalation and burns, according to officials.
Some believe that the result of this disaster is due to an extremely dry winter and one of the hottest months of September in the region on record. As the world’s second driest continent, after Antarctica, scientists have warned that they are going to be more and more vulnerable to climate extremes that come with climate changes. The fires have been intense and have come early in Australia’s fire season which have only become more applied and widespread due to the strong winds, which were showering embers upon threatened surrounding areas.
According to ABC News, others around the world are blaming the blazes on climate change and global warming. Australia is considered to be one of the world’s worst greenhouse gas emitters per capita due to the heavy usage of cheap coal for the generation of the countries power.
The government, especially Prime Minister Tony Abbott, have completely rejected the claims that their countries CO2 emissions are to blame.
“That is complete hogwash,” Abbott said in an interview with News Corp. Australian Newspaper. “They are desperate to find anything that they think might pass as ammunition for their cause…”
Abbott’s conservative government, which was elected into office last month, plans to repeal a law that has been enforced on the country’s worst greenhouse gas polluters to pay taxes for every ton of CO2 they emit. The tax was introduced last year in hopes to reduce the heavy pollution within Australia.
Aside from claims of global warming, arson investigators are looking into the origins of many of the fires. According to The Huffington Post, police have arrested two girls ages 12 and 13 with setting fire in a woodland area on Sydney’s western fringe. Firefighters were able to put out the blaze.
An 11-year-old boy was charged with lighting two fires in the Port Stephens area. A 15-year-old boy has also been arrested for being suspected of starting other fires in the area. There is also an investigation into Australia’s military to determine if a bush fire was started after a training exercise using explosives.
Cailley Breckinridge is sophomore Telecommunications Major. This is her second semester writing for BUNow and she is currently the On-Campus Editor.