Australia to Pay ‘Whatever it Takes’ to Recover from Wildfires

Australia to Pay ‘Whatever it Takes’ to Recover from Wildfires

Australia to Pay ‘Whatever it Takes’ to Recover from Wildfires

The St. Vincent de Paul Society has launched a bushfire appeal. These organizations are helping communities across the country. By donating here, you can directly help fund Rural Fire Brigades, a group that provides emergency assistance to communities directly affected by wildfires.

According to the NSW Crimes Act, the Rural Fires Act, and Rural Fires Regulation, bushfire-related offenses can lead to 25 years in prison for damaging property with the intention of endangering life and 21 years in prison for starting a bushfire and being reckless with regards to its spread. Half a billion animals are feared to have perished since the fires first started in September, leaving many native Australian fauna under threat of extinction-including the beloved koalas.

Two dozen people in the Australian state of New South Wales have been charged with starting brushfires in the past two months, the New South Wales Police said in a statement Monday.

A total of 183 people are facing legal action so far, according to the New South Wales government. The devastating fires have killed at least 24 people in Australia and destroyed nearly 2,000 homes.

There are 137 fires ablaze across New South Wales state, but all were back at the "advice" level, the lowest alert rating. It is the country's most populous state.

The worst blazes are in New South Wales (NSW) and in Victoria, particularly the Gospers Mountains fires, which have burned about 15 million acres of land.

"There is no room for complacency, especially as we have over 130 fires burning across (New South Wales) state still", New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said early Monday.

AUSTRALIA-Rain has fallen in fire-ravaged parts of Australia and temperatures have dropped - but officials have warned that blazes will "take off" again.

The scale of the damage remains unclear because of a lack of access to the burned areas and because it is hard to document animal deaths, but scientists say "it is clear that the devastation is vast", per the New York Times.

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged $2 billion (C$1.8 billion) for recovery efforts, in addition to the tens of millions already designated for disaster relief.

Though the impact of climate change on fire clouds is still a nascent field of research, scientists are concerned that climate change could make fire-induced storms more common, particularly as global warming drives more intense wildfires.

The last time firefighters from the US deployed to Australia was in 2010. Additionally, celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, Iggy Azalea and Leonardo DiCaprio have donated.

© Brett Hemmings/Getty Images An RFS Crew attempts to put out a smoldering pile of railway sleepers.

These donations matter, but they are only a short-term solution to the long-term catastrophe of climate change.

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