Three major bushfires and more than 60 smaller ones have been burning across parts of Southern Australia for seven days without an end in sight, NBC News is reporting.
In a risky move, the Blue Mountain region firefighters deliberately joined the State Mine fire with the Mount Victoria fire, but officials fear they could quickly merge with the Linksview Road blaze in the “worst possible scenario” to form a mega-bushfire, which would greatly reduce the ability to contain it as the fires approach Sydney.
CNN reports that more than 200 homes have been destroyed and 300,000 acres burned. There were 1500 firefighters brought in to join the current 1000 exhausted firefighters in battling the apocalyptic blazes Tuesday.
The heat, dry conditions and wind could cause the monster fires to literally create their own weather phenomenon.
Dr. Owen Price, a senior research fellow at the Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires at the University of Wollongong spoke about the dangers.
"You can get these conditions, what you call a pyrocumulus, where a fire is producing so much energy it punches up through the troposphere a huge plume of smoke, essentially creating a thunderstorm with lots and lots of energy in it," Price was quoted in abc.net.australia. "Then it starts to suck in air from all around, so there's more oxygen and it feeds back on itself so the fire behavior [gets] really extreme. Unfortunately under those conditions when it's creating its own weather you can get things like tornadoes occurring.”
Price mentioned the Blue Mountain bushfires with concern.
"If two big fires coalesce together they're sort of pooling their energy together, so you can get feedback that makes them even more intense," he concluded.
Australian climate scientists are not shy about blaming the increased heat, droughts and extreme weather conditions on climate change. The same was indicated by the unusual and historic rainfall that briefly hit the country in 2010.
“Carbon pollution is a heat-trapping greenhouse gas that is like putting the weather on steroids. It drives the greater extremes. It's not just warmer weather it's wilder weather,” said John Connor, the CEO of the Climate Institute.
In addition, massive wildfires spew tons of pollutants and emissions into the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming.
Furthermore, Adam Bandt, Greens Deputy Leader, who recently wrote an article for The Guardian, complained about the newly elected climate denier as prime minister.
“It's October and we're having tragic bushfires, and meanwhile, Tony Abbott and his ministers have been out every day this week saying that they're going to take Australia backwards when it comes to combating global warming.”
Abbott, who once called climate change “absolute crap,” ran on the promise to drop the carbon tax that was credited for the recent drop in carbon dioxide emissions, but the tax was reviled by resource-sucking corporations.
Grist’s John Upton explained it this way:
Tony Abbott, the climate-denying politician, who had pledged to kill a carbon tax and other climate initiatives introduced by the Labor Party government, will be the country’s prime minister. The Abbott-led conservative coalition of the Liberal and National parties (note the capital “L” in “Liberal” — that’s because it’s the name of a party, not a description of its platform) easily won an election that had been dominated by debate over climate policies [in Australia, one of the world’s worst per-capita C02 polluters].
Now Australia, a country known for its droughts that are already attributed to climate change, is facing a monster bushfire early in the season bestrode with a political leader that doesn’t recognize the need for reducing greenhouse emissions.
Ironically, the US has a president, who believes in climate change and wants to combat it, but is shackled by a Republican-dominated House full of climate-change deniers.
In the end, it’s the voters who decide which politicians they want to lead their country and generally into what direction; forward or back.