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Bushfires in Australia - BC koala detection dog


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I am not sure how much other countries have heard about the bushfires which have been burning in Australia over the last month or so.  New South Wales and Queensland have had multiple fires, with 5 fatalities, around 600 houses burnt and over a million hectares (2.5 million acres) of farm and bush land burned.  Smoke from these fires have drifted to New Zealand.  The smoke has caused Sydney to have some of the worst air quality in the world.  And it is not even officially summer yet.  Many fires are still not contained, and may not be contained until next year.

We have been having multiple days over 40 degrees celsius (104 fahrenheit) in the last couple of months in these states.  Our usual fire danger season would not start until late November, but we are already having catastrophic fire danger days, and total fire ban days.  And yes, in Australia our fire danger ratings start at low-moderate and end at catastrophic/code red. Total fire ban days mean you can't even have a Weber BBQ burning (charcoal BBQ) at risk of a fine in excess of $100,000 or prison time.

Anyway, much of what has burned has been prime koala habitat, and many are feared to have been killed.  They have been sending a koala detection dog in after the fire has passed to try and find any that have survived to see if they need medical treatment.

Here is an article about the dog.

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/bear-searches-scorched-bushland-for-surviving-koalas-20191118-p53bl5.html

There is also a video about a lady who took off her own shirt to save a koala who was running into a fire, but it contains footage of the injured koala crying.  It was too upsetting to me to want to post it.  If you want to find it you can probably google woman rescues koala.  The koala has survived, badly burned, but is getting treatment and is able to eat.

I am nowhere near these fires, and I am not sure if anyone on these boards is, but this is a tragic situation and I feel it deserves to be known.  Most of our firefighters are volunteers, and they have come from all over the country to help.  They are true heroes.

 

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We Californians feel your pain and understand the dread you must feel when hot, dry weather persists, along with the searing, moisture-sucking winds.  During our terrible Northern California fires the last two years I seem to recall that Aussie fire personnel came to assist.  I hope we can repay the favor, and that damage to your beautiful land, people and animals is minimized.

Amy

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This is a picture from a firewatch website of the fires in Australia over the last 72 hours.  The colours have to do with age of the fire, not the size or intensity.  Essentially everywhere on the continent is burning, or ready to burn. Every state in Australia has fires underway, including Tasmania, which is not traditionally prone to bushfires, and the tropical north of Australia. Most frightening, around half of the fires may have been deliberately lit. 

1157874269_FireimageAustralia.jpg.068d2e7e6c87f76517c92cdf3b6e9d2b.jpg

 

 

 

 

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What Amy said. I was prepared to evacuate in October, the fires in Northern CA came within 20 miles or so of my home. I was packed up and ready to go.  Driving east from where I live a couple weeks ago I passed huge swaths of burned to the ground grasslands. Climate change is real and getting worse.

Ruth & Gibbs

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I am so very sorry to hear about this. Every time I hear about the fires in CA, and now about Aus. I feel terrible for all of the people affected by it. Having had my house burn, I know a little bit about how it feels personally, but for it to be happening on such a scale is beyond my experience. Not just your house, the neighbor's, the whole town perhaps. I send kind thoughts to all of those folks and wish there were something more that I could do.

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There is a group called the Rescue Craft Collective, who are sewing, knitting and crocheting mittens to protect burned koala paws while they heal, bags to replace mother's pouches, knitted nests for baby birds and possums, rugs and sheets to keep animals warm when they are in shock - all from natural materials so that the skin can breathe.  When it is not bushfire season, they make coats for rescue dogs and cats, and items for other orphaned animals.  They have been overwhelmed with support.

The koala hospital had a GoFundMe asking for $25,000 to put water stations up in the burnt out sections of bush for native animals - it has topped $1 million dollars.  The hospital had to ask people to stop sending items because they literally had nowhere to put them.

This support shows no signs of stopping.

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On a lighter note, not sure if anyone follows WeRateDogs on twitter, but Bear the Koala Detection Dog just became their 13th dog to get top rated 15/10 Good Dog.  Last dog who got that was Tula, the Maremma who recently retired from guarding penguins on Middle Island in Warrnambool, Victoria.  Go Australian dogs!

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