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Fires set stage for irreversible forest losses in Australia

Fires set stage for irreversible forest losses in Australia

Technology
Australia’s forests are burning at a rate unmatched in modern times and scientists say the landscape is being permanently altered as a warming climate brings profound changes to the island continent. Heat waves and drought have fueled bigger and more frequent fires in parts of Australia, so far this season torching some 40,000 square miles (104,000 square kilometers), an area about as big as Ohio. With blazes still raging in the country’s southeast, government officials are drawing up plans to reseed burned areas to speed up forest recovery that could otherwise take decades or even centuries. But some scientists and forestry experts doubt that reseeding and other intervention efforts can match the scope of the destruction. The fires since September have killed 28 people and bur
Australia fires: ‘Apocalypse’ comes to Kangaroo Island

Australia fires: ‘Apocalypse’ comes to Kangaroo Island

Science
Kangaroo Island in South Australia has been likened to a Noah's Ark for its unique ecology. But after fierce bushfires tore through the island this week, there are fears it may never fully recover. "You see the glowing in the distance," says Sam Mitchell, remembering the fire that threatened his home, family, and animals last week."The wind is quite fast, the glowing gets brighter - and then you start to see the flames."Sam runs Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park and lives there with his wife and 19-month-old son, Connor. As the flames approached, an evacuation warning was issued. Within 20 minutes, "everyone was gone".But Sam - and four others - stayed behind."You can't move 800 animals including water buffaloes, ostriches and cassow...
Climate change: Australia fires will be ‘normal’ in warmer world

Climate change: Australia fires will be ‘normal’ in warmer world

Science
UK scientists say the recent fires in Australia are a taste of what the world will experience as temperatures rise. Prof Richard Betts from the Met Office Hadley Centre said we are "seeing a sign of what would be normal conditions under a future warming world of 3C".While natural weather patterns have driven recent fires, researchers said it's "common sense" that human-induced heating is playing a role. Last year was Australia's warmest and driest year on record.UK researchers have carried out a rapid analysis of the impact of climate change on the risk of wildfires happening all over the world. Their study looked at 57 research papers published since the last major review of climate science came out in 2013.All the studies in the review showed links betw...
Australia fires: Dalila Jakupovic ‘scared I would collapse’ because of ‘unhealthy’ air quality

Australia fires: Dalila Jakupovic ‘scared I would collapse’ because of ‘unhealthy’ air quality

Sports
Media playback is not supported on this device Dalila Jakupovic says she was "really scared" as she retired from her Australian Open qualifying match because of the "unhealthy" air quality from ongoing bushfires in the country.The Slovenian world number 180 had to be helped off court after she retired at 6-5 5-6 against Swiss Stefanie Vogele in the first round in Melbourne."It was really bad. I never experienced something like this," Jakupovic said. "I was really scared I would collapse because I couldn't walk any more."Qualifying was delayed by an hour on Tuesday and ...
Australian fires: Victoria extends state of disaster ahead of worsening weather conditions

Australian fires: Victoria extends state of disaster ahead of worsening weather conditions

World
Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Premier Daniel Andrews extended Victoria's first-ever state of disaster on Thursday as worsening weather conditions are forecast to further inflame ongoing bushfires that have ravaged southeastern Australia for months. "We don't lightly extend the state of disaster. We've done it because we believe that it will save lives and that, after all, is the most important thing," Andrews said during a press conference. At least 25 people have died, thousands of homes have been destroyed and some 10 million hectares of land have been scorched this fire season throughout southeastern Australia, and officials in three states on Thursday are bracing for increasing temperatures and strong winds that will continue into the weekend after a short respite of milder weather. "While there's...