Australia is in the midst of one of the worst bushfire crises the world has seen. Since September, entire communities have been engulfed by relentless heat and fires. The flames are showing no signs of slowing down - which means only one thing... death tolls are rising.
Unbelievably, it seems some of these fires have been started deliberately. Keep scrolling to get the full story including the sentence the culprits could be facing.
Australia is being ravished by one of the worst bush fire crises the world has seen in decades.
New South Wales is suffering immensely at the moment.
via: Getty ImagesThere have been fires reported in every state, but New South Wales is truly taking a beating by bush fires and is undoubtedly the hardest hit. According to CNN, so far, in New South Wales alone, more than 2000 houses have been destroyed.
NSW declared a state of emergency last month.
via: Getty ImagesWhat does this mean? Well, it grants "extraordinary powers" to the NSWRFS commissioner, including the authority to allocate government resources and direct government agencies in taking action, according to CNN.
The raging fires have had a devastating impact...
Twenty-four people have been confirmed to have died in the fires since they started...
via: Getty ImagesIncluding several volunteer firefighters.
And it's not just the flames themselves that are having deadly consequences...
via: Getty ImagesLast month, the smoke was so bad in Sydney that air quality measured eleven times the "hazardous" level, CNN reports.
The Australian fire services have been stretched to their limits.Firefighters all over the country have been tirelessly battling the formidable blazes and are struggling to contain them. Keep scrolling to see the heartbreaking pictures of the aftermath.
Australia has even been forced to make a global call for help...
via: Getty ImagesAnd it was Canada that was the first to respond and take action. The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, based in Winnipeg, answered the call for help after realizing the bush fire situation is expected to continue for many more weeks and gave up their Christmas to help fight the raging fires.
Other countries offered their assistance...
via: Getty ImagesIncluding the U.S. and New Zealand, who have sent in more firefighters to try and help tackles the blazes.
But even with assistance from overseas...There seems to be no end to the blazes. In total, more than 5.9 million hectares (14.6 million acres) have been burned, CNN reports. And those who escaped the flames have lost their homes, with all their possessions perishing to the flames.
People have been desperately fleeing to beaches for cover.
Australian Bushfires The surreal scene at Currarong in Jervis Bay with huge plumes from the northern flank of the… https://t.co/aB0ZUf6TYU— Liliane Breuning (@Liliane Breuning)1577965325.0
How long could the fires actually be burning for?
via: Getty ImagesSadly, Australia has only just entered summer, meaning temperatures could remain high for some weeks. In fact, temperatures usually reach their highest during January and February, so there may be no end in sight for months.
The fires have also had a devasting impact on wildlife.
via: Getty ImagesSeveral of Australia's native species have been affected including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, possums, wombats, and echidnas.
Nearly half a billion animals have died.Ecologists from the University of Sydney have said that it's thought around 480 million mammals, birds, and reptiles have died since September.
But it turns out that some of these devasting blazes have been started on purpose.
Shockingly, it is believed that eighty-five percent of bushfires are caused by humans.
via: Getty Images
So far, 183 arrests have been made in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania since November last year.In New South Wales alone, which is one of the hardest places hit, twenty-four people have been charged with deliberately lighting bushfires, along with fifty-three individuals facing legal action for allegedly failing to comply with a total fire ban. Keep scrolling to learn about what their punishment will be.
Many of the alleged culprits are juveniles.
via: Getty ImagesPolice stated that 103 fires in Queensland had been started on purpose, with 98 people, 67 of whom are juveniles, identified as the offenders.
Failing to comply with the fire ban can land you in serious trouble.
via: Getty Images
Offenders may be in for some hefty prison time.
via: Getty ImagesCrimes relating to lighting bushfires carry a sentence of up to 25 years in prison for damaging property with the intention of endangering, and 21 years in prison for starting a bushfire and being reckless as to its spread, under the New South Wales Crimes Act, the Rural Fires Act and Rural Fires Regulation, Ladbible reports. To learn more about the bushfire crisis, keep scrolling to see the harrowing pictures that truly sum up the devastation. This is so heartbreaking...