The Australian brushfires continue to grow with more than 2000 homes now destroyed. Reuters reports:
More than 25.5 million acres of land – an area the size of South Korea – have been razed since September, killing 26 people and killing or injuring an estimated one billion animals, including livestock.
More than 100 fires remain alight and authorities have said the largest of the blazes will only be doused by significant rainfall.
To put the size of this fire into perspective, The Washington Post says, “Pollutants from the bush fires in Australia will circle the globe.”
While there are some storms today, conditions are expected to get drier and hotter later this week. The AP adds:
Thunderstorms and showers brought some relief for firefighters battling deadly wildfires across Australia’s drought-parched east coast on Wednesday, but also raised concerns that lightning will spark more fires before dangerous hot and windy conditions return.
Around 2,300 firefighters in New South Wales state were making the most of relatively benign conditions by frantically consolidating containment lines around more than 110 blazes and patrolling for lightning strikes, state Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.
The U.S. has sent more than 250 firefighters to Australia to assist local crews.
Meanwhile, Australian authorities say they have taken legal action against 180 people for bushfire-related offenses in the last few weeks. 24 of those people have been charged with deliberately starting bushfires. The charges carry up to 25 years behind bars. CNN has more on the arrests above.