Health Editor’s Note: Basically a very large portion of an entire continent is burning with loss of human lives and great loss of animal life. Habitats are being destroyed, which will lead to loss of animals even after the fires are out. Where is rain when you really, really need it? So sad. Western Michigan would gladly send water there. Lake Michigan’s water level is so high it is eroding its banks, claiming some houses, and rivers are overflowing. More unusual weather patterns affecting precipitation: either too much or not enough….Carol
Raging Wildfires Have Prompted a State of Emergency in Australia—Again
by Brigit Katz/Smithsonianmag.com
As catastrophic wildfires continue to plague Australia, officials have declared a seven-day state of emergency in New South Wales, the country’s most populous state. It is, according to Linda Givetash and Caroline Radnofsky of NBC News, the third time that such a declaration has been made since the fires began in November.
The emergency declaration grants “extraordinary powers” to Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons, among which are coordinating government resources, closing roads, pulling down infrastructure at risk of collapse and taking possession of property in order to combat fires, explains Stuart Marsh of Australia’s 9News. A state of disaster has been declared in Victoria, Australia’s second-most populous state, allowing officials to authorize evacuations, reports Jamie Tarabay of the New York Times.
These measures come as the country braces for particularly bad conditions on Saturday, when scorching temperatures and strong winds are expected to exacerbate an already-dire situation. Eight people died over the past week as flames swept across Australia’s Pacific coast, bringing the death toll to at least 17. Another 17 people are missing in Victoria, according to the Guardian’s Ben Smee and Luke Henriques-Gomes. Nearly 10 million acres—an area larger than Belgium—have been set ablaze with more than 1,000 houses lost in the flames. An estimated 480 million animals have been affected …..Read More: