Thursday, July 2, 2020

In Australia, spectacular images of devastating fires

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Since September, Australia has been hit by destructive fires. In total, the flames devoured at least three million hectares, the equivalent of the area of ​​Belgium. Ten people lost their lives in these blazes, forests listed as World Heritage by Unesco have been reduced to ashes and the largest city in the country, Sydney, and its 5.2 million inhabitants are suffocated by the smoke of fires.

Australia is used to bush fires that occur every year, but the precocity and intensity of disasters this year, accompanied by record temperatures, heightens concerns about global warming.

A helicopter pours water over a fire in Bargo, 150 kilometers south of Sydney, on December 19. PETER PARKS / AFP
Firefighters come to the aid of a koala, caught in the flames. According to the North East Forest Alliance, more than 2,000 koalas perished in these fires, trapped on top of their eucalyptus trees.
Firefighters come to the aid of a koala, caught in the flames. According to the North East Forest Alliance, more than 2,000 koalas perished in these fires, trapped on top of their eucalyptus trees. PAUL SUDMALS / PAUL SUDMALS via REUTERS
A house is consumed by flames in Balmoral, south of Sydney. More than 800 homes have been destroyed in New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, alone.
A house is consumed by flames in Balmoral, south of Sydney. More than 800 homes have been destroyed in New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, alone. PETER PARKS / AFP
Sydney residents have been breathing polluted air for weeks because of the proximity of a massive fire. Hospitals have seen an increase (up to 80% on certain days) in the number of visits by patients with respiratory problems.
Sydney residents have been breathing polluted air for weeks because of the proximity of a massive fire. Hospitals have seen an increase (up to 80% on certain days) in the number of visits by patients with respiratory problems. WENDELL TEODORO / AFP
A volunteer firefighter cuts down burned trees in Dargan, 120 kilometers from Sydney, on December 18.
A volunteer firefighter cuts down burned trees in Dargan, 120 kilometers from Sydney, on December 18. SAEED KHAN / AFP
Since the fires started, two volunteer firefighters have died while fighting the flames. A memorial has been erected in their honor at Horsley Park, west of Sydney.
Since the fires started, two volunteer firefighters have died while fighting the flames. A memorial has been erected in their honor at Horsley Park, west of Sydney. STRINGER / REUTERS
At least 20% of the forest in the Blue Mountains region, a popular tourist area, has been burned.
At least 20% of the forest in the Blue Mountains region, a popular tourist area, has been burned. SAEED KHAN / AFP
In all, Australia has 70,000 volunteer firefighters, many of whom have been very active since the start of this episode.
In all, Australia has 70,000 volunteer firefighters, many of whom have been very active since the start of this episode. PETER PARKS / AFP
The east of the country faces a prolonged drought that accelerates the spread of fires.
The east of the country faces a prolonged drought that accelerates the spread of fires. PETER PARKS / AFP
On December 21, hundreds of people participated in a climate march in Sydney. Scientists believe that the fire season starts earlier and that fires are more intense in Australia due to global warming.
On December 21, hundreds of people participated in a climate march in Sydney. Scientists believe that the fire season starts earlier and that fires are more intense in Australia due to global warming. WENDELL TEODORO / AFP

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