Jan 8, 2016

Raging Fires in Southern Australia Have Destroyed 100 Homes

Yarloop WA 6218
Reuters and Vice

As the sun set on the western tip of Australia this Friday, a week-long bushfire near the city of Perth had destroyed nearly 100 homes and razed an estimated 143,000 acres of land, according to Reuters. Wire agency UPI has reported flames up to 160 feet high...

"Australia fires are an ever-present, every-year phenomenon," said Mark Cochrane, a geospatial scientist at South Dakota State University. "In different places and in different years, they are more prevalent, and in El Niño years they tend to be even more prevalent."

On the whole, Cochrane says that Australia could see more long-term drying, but also an increase in the prevalence of heat waves or single day events, which he attributed to a changing climate, that pose an extreme fire danger. In recent years, given the severity and frequency of bush fires, the government has added an additional "catastrophic" category to its fire warning system.

Persistently higher temperatures have led some scientists to believe that a changing climate could lead to a longer, more severe fire season in the future.