BUSHFIRE IN AUSTRALIA

  • Category:
    Education
  • Document type:
    Essay
  • Level:
    Undergraduate
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    5
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    3729

Bushfire in Australia

Introduction

Bushfires in Australia are common events during the hotter months of the year. This is normally brought about by the hot and dry climate in Australia. It impacts the social, economic and political aspects of human beings. Despite the fact that bushfires are associated with negative effects such as a death of human beings and property damage, there is a class of individuals in Australia who have looked beyond the negatives effects of the bushfire and have been able to find a way of converting the bushfire as a means of reproduction (Johnston, 2007). The bushfire events are therefore an important part of the ecology of the continent. Bushfires being common events, they have been used by Australians to foster grasslands for hunting and also were used to clear dense bushes (Tham, 2009).

Bushfires are usually named based on the day of their occurrences such as Black Saturday and Ash Wednesday. Extensive and deadly bushfires that have been experienced in the history of Australia and will forever be remembered include bushfires that are experienced during heat waves and droughts. One of such kind of bushfires includes the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires where the number of individuals who lost their lives was 173. Other bushfires that are still remembered in the history of Australia are the 2003 Eastern Victoria Alpine bushfire, The 1983 Ash Wednesday Bushfires, and the 2006 December Bushfires. It is in Victoria that worst and deadliest bushfires in Australia have been experienced. The most recent bushfire that occurred in this region was the 2009 Black Saturdays fires where an approximately of 2000 homes and structures were constructed, and 173 lives were lost. Due to the increase in the global warming, Australia is at a higher risko0f experiencing bushfires that are more severe and extreme in the future days. This paper will look into details the impacts of bushfires on the people, environment.

Causes of Bushfire

There are several potential causes of bushfires in Australia. All these causes result to the bushfires that eventually change the normal life pattern of the people involved. The cases of the bushfire can be divided into either natural or human influence. Natural factors that cause bushfires are the most common causes of the bushfires. Lighting strokes which are natural have been found to be the initiators of these natural resources. There are, on average, more bushfires that occurred because of lightning strikes compared to any other individual causes. Studies have revealed that they count for approximately 27 percent of all the bush fires in Australia.

However, a large number of the bushfires that occur in Australia are brought about by the actions or influences of human beings. There are situations that have been witnessed where campfires have turned out to be bushfires. This occurs when the campfire is not extinguished in the correct time, or it is left unattended to. It is a habit of some farmers to burn up control weeds, crop debris and unwanted rubbish in their farms so that they may make the farm clear for cultivation or the specific purpose that it was set for. These types of fire are referred to as the agricultural burns. Agricultural burns normally result to bushfires if they are not attended to or managed appropriately. Agricultural burns also account for a greater percentage in the causes of the bushfires as 15 percent of the bushfires are caused by agricultural burns. Equipment’s and machinery that are capable of generating heat or sparks are capable of acting as accelerators to sparking off bushfires. Some of this equipment and machines that are associated with starting of bushfires include slashes, grinders as well as chainsaws. Cigarettes that are dumped carelessly without looking at the point they are disappointed can cause bushfires (Sharples, 2009). However, studies have shown that there is only a smaller percentage of bushfires that are started off in this way. However, it should be noted that not all bushfires are accidental as others are caused intentionally by arsonists who deliberately starts fires. This kind of fires account to the second largest causes of the bushfires as they are capable of extending to greater areas destroying numerous homes and taking way the lives of numerous people.

Impacts of Bushfires

In instances of bushfires which may extend from urban centers to estates, it may bring about social distress, stunting the Australian economy as well as damaging the environment. The area that is affected by the bushfires is directly proportional to the intensity of the bushfire experienced. A bushfire with more intensity has the potential of burning up a large area thus causing more severe impacts to the people as well as the environment. Bushfire has the power of destroying valuable infrastructure and also cause widespread damage to forest trees. Intense wildfire can result in the death of numerous wild lives that inhabited the particular bush. It may also impact negatively on the sources of water supply as well as making the atmosphere un-conducive for occupants and in turn make them unable to participate in their day to day activities. Increased smoke in the atmosphere can cause dislocation of the aerial communications as well as affecting the general being of the human health. This is evitable in Australian communities as areas that were affected impacted not only to the lives of the individuals that were affected but also to the environment of the people that were affected.

Impacts to the people

In instances of bushfires in Australia, there are always a percentage of people or some people who lose their life. This can be included that majority of the bushfires normally cause a death of individuals. The death of individuals comes with a lot of challenges to the remaining population as it may mean that the lot person is of great importance to the society. Bushfires in Australia have been able to claim the lives of individuals who would have changed the lives of individuals in Australia. Some of these people who have lost their lives in the bushfires were the future leaders of Australia. The bushfire, therefore, claims the lives of individuals who have not fulfilled their main purpose in the universe. The death of individuals due to bushfires normally leaves behind widowers or single parented parents and even orphans. This means that they will have to cater for the cost of the burial of these people. They may not be in a position to raise the amount needed for the burial. It will, therefore, compel the family to go for loans to offer a decent burial to their lost person.

When one loses his life due to bushfires, there are higher possibilities that the high temperatures of the bushfires will burn up their bodies to the point where they cannot easily be identified with their friends or relatives (Sheppeard, 2005). This is an indication that bushfires normally subject’s individuals to great pains during their death time compared to other normal deaths that are less painful. Individual burning beyond the recognition point means that the government will be forced to conduct out forensic studies so that they may reveal the identity of the deceased. This may take time before it is done. In instances where the Australian government has failed to conduct the tests to identify the particular body, it forces the family to employ their private forensic experts who will carry for them the tests so that they can identify the body of their beloved ones (Karthikeyan, 2008). This may prove to be real hard to families that are of low class as they may not be having the required finance to hire the services of the expert. This will mean that they will be forced to look for funds from all sectors that they can get so that they can raise the amount to hire an expert. The end result is that this class of families will end up in a pit of debts as they will be looking for any available lender to assist them raise the required fee (Naeher, 2007). To make matters worse to the situation, the families of the deceased are normally subjected to a lot of metal stress when they lose their beloved ones. there is pain in coming to terms with the reality of death, they will be subjected to additional stress where they will wait for days or weeks for the bodies of the deceased to be found out (Fergusson, 2014). Some families may not be able to find the body of their burned individual as they could have been reduced to ashes. This may cause a lot of mental stress to the family. The mental stress may last for years before the individuals affected finally accept that their beloved ones were reduced to ashes and they could not find a way of laying the body in eternal rest.

Bushfires in Australia have forced families and various individuals who were occupying a particular region to locomote from one point to the other. When there is an occurrence of a bushfire, there are homes that are usually brought down by the fires and most of the house belongings are normally destroyed (Karthikeyan, 2006). This means that they will be forced to move to new areas to start a new life. The Australian government typically gives a small relief that is not enough to support them for a long time. This means that these families are forced to pass through a lot of difficulties since they will not be having enough amounts to go somewhere new and start the new life. This causes a lot of inconveniences. The majority of them will be forced to sleep in cold nights because of no homes. They will be forced to move from their region that has been burnt down by the bushfires to go live in camps where the quality of good life is compromised. Moving from a point where one is used to so much comfort to another place where comfort is compromised may be challenging as one is forced to adapt to the new area. Adapting to the new area means that the populations affected by the bushfire are forced to learn the culture of that region (Atkinson, 2009). This may put them under a threat of losing their culture.

Australian bushfires normally spread up to urban centers where they bring down infrastructure and other businesses premises that serve the Australian population. When these premisess and infrastructures are burnt down, it means that all the machines and other equipment that were used in the income generating activity are burnt down, and there will be no more production activities. This means that the economy of Australia wouldbe greatly affected because the tax that was being got from the firms would be no or Hundreds of employees that were employed in these firms also loses up their job (Jalaludin, 2002). If they lose their jobs and if they were the breadwinners of their family, it can be concluded that the family will be subjected to poverty, and the children of these families may be deprived of getting good quality of food or good quality of education since they will not be having a stable source of support from their seniors or guardians (Naeher, 2007). The bushfires will burn up money and therefore the company owners would undergo a lot of financial loss as they would have lost all the liquid cash they were having in the firm as well as the machines and the equipment. Events like these normally change the life of an individual as the majority of the people affected normally go up in flames.

Bushfires normally break up the privacy of individuals as the bushfires normally pass through residential houses. The public and the media will, in turn, take a keen interested in what was in the house as they try to estimate put the value of the goods that could have been lost by the bushfire. It is, therefore, evitable that bushfire helps in revealing more about an individual including information that the person was holding from the public (Gupta, 2007). Taking a case of the recent bushfire, the 2009 Black Saturday bushfire there were a lot of economic impacts such as destruction of over 1400 structures and destruction of more than 2030 homes, the estimated cost that was lost by the bushfire as estimated by the Royal Bushfire Commission was $4.4 billion AUD and the agricultural costs were not included in the cost and the Victorian Section of the main industries approximated that 62000 hectares of grazing pasture, 32000 tons of silage and hay and 11800 head of livestock were lost in the fire. It is indeed no doubt that the losses were so transcendental to the economy of Australia.

Environmental impacts of Bushfire in Australia

Bushfire not only affects the people but also the environment. The effects may be so severe and may affect so much negatively to the atmosphere. However, bushfires have been confirmed to have some positive impacts on the environment. This can be seen in the bushfires that have taken place in Australia. Some of the benefits that have been associated with the bushfire in Australia are that the blazes that are brought about the fire have provided the conducive environment for the plants to germinate and become better (McCaw, 2013). Germination of the plants is better off as they get to grow be3tter with the conditions that have been set up by the bushfire. Some plants have mutated and have adapted to survive despite the conditions that have been brought about by the bushfires. Similarly, there are also other animals that have been able to mutate and can adapt to the conditions.

Bushfires have led to losing of thousands of animals and plants. When the fire starts up, many animals usually lose their lives. Some of the animals normally run for safety in far off places. The bushfires in Australia are always intense, and their rate of spreading is usually so fast. They catch up easily with the running animals, and therefore they end up burning and killing the animals. The death of these animals is an indicator that both the local and external tourists that used to visit the forests to see the wild animals will no longer come to the place(Dennekamp, 2011). This, in turn, will lead to losing of revenue that seared by the Australian government on the wild animals that are killed by the bushfires.

Another impact of the Australian bushfires on the environment is that the fire usually changes the atmosphere in the level of carbon dioxide is increased in the air, there are different processes that depend on carbon dioxide that is affected (Cameron, 2009). Some of these processes include photosynthesis and respiration. It, therefore, means that photosynthesis process would be activated in the surrounding areas, and more food would be manufactured up by the plants to feed the population. On the other side, human beings and other animals that will be bordering the fireplace will be suffocation due to an insufficient amount of oxygen that has been brought about by the bushfires. The bushfires in Australia have created large volumes of ash and smoke. This, in turn, brings about the localized change in weather. Change in the atmosphere or the weather conditions over time may lead to a situation where a climatic condition that doe3s not support human activities can be achieved. Focusing on the 2009 Black Saturday fires in Victoria, it can be seen the several environmental impacts that were brought by the bushfires.

It was estimated by the RSPCA that over a million animals died in the bushfires and the animals that survived from the bushfires suffered from severe burns. Marysville region has been regarded as the habitat of most of the endangered species. The occurrence of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfire in Victoria placed these classes of animals in further threat of extinction. This, therefore, means that the rare species that should be well conserved are placed at a risk of killing them. If they are killed the benefits that are associated with these kinds of animals will be no longer there (Morgan, 2010). Also, the bushfire made the numerous kangaroos have burned feet because of their natural predispositionthat compelled them to go back to their initial home places (Atkinson, 2001). Also, the bushfires led to the catchment regions that supplied five of Melbourne’s main dams were impacted negatively by the bushfires. There was deposition of materials such as ash into the water bodies that led to the contamination of the water surfaces. In March 2009, scientists were able to establish out that the smoke that came from the bushfires were still in the stratospheres over Antarctica at high altitudes.

Prevention of natural hazards/Conclusion

From the essay above it is evitable that natural hazards cause a lot of negative effects to not o0nly the humans who are the occupants of the land but also cause negative impacts to the environment. The effects can be felt in the social, economic and political aspects (Brown, 2014). It is, therefore, prudent for the government to take you measures that can be used to stop the causes of these natural hazards so that lives can be saved and the environment and places can be saved from the severe damages that are seen on them. Focusing on the bushfires that are taking place in Australia, it has been established that the second largest cause of the bushfires is a group of individuals who deliberate start off the bushfires. The government of Australia should pass very strong laws that have a very harsh punishment to individuals who will be found starting of such fires. These will pose a threat to persons who will be planning to start the bushfires. If they are threatened, future causes of bushfires will reduce. Also, it has been found that there are equipment and machines whose wrong usage has been found to start the bushfires. There should be regulations that should be put in place to regulate the usage of these materials so that the causes of the bushfire may be minimized. Also a law that will be able to put those smoking cigarettes in bushes should be under trial and be punished in a court of law. In general, the above causes of the bushfires that have been discussed above should be avoided so that the future occurrences of the bushfires may be avoided. The driving force to implementing these preventive measures should be the negative impacts that are brought about by the bushfires.

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