High risk Saturday. How did Australia become so vulnerable to fires?

Faced with an unusually intense time of large fires that have already devastated more than six million hectares of forest, causing at least 18 deaths and 17 missing, and destroying about 1300 homes, Australia now faces another high risk weekend, with the possibility of uncontrollable fires, due to the high temperatures, which may reach 42 degrees Celsius, and the expected strong winds.

That’s why anda large evacuation is underway covering tens of thousands of people in a 250-kilometer stretch of land on the east coast of New South Wales. “Get out before Saturday”, warned the authorities.

Used to forest fires, Australia is, however, experiencing an unusual time of forest fires, due to the extreme violence that has characterized them. After all, what is happening? And is this already a sign of climate change? The first question has an easier answer – let’s go to the next one, but it seems certain that they are already around.

“The main cause of what is happening has to do with the extreme drought in the territory, which has lasted at least since March this year,” Australian researcher Owen Price, of Wollongong University’s Environmental Risk and Management Center, told DN. in the state of New South Wales.

Drought, explains the expert, “determines that moisture levels in vegetation and soils go to minimum values ​​and, on the other hand, as the natural barriers to the expansion of flames do not exist, because rivers are dry, fires end up. reach great proportions “.

High temperatures, which in December twice set a record high for the country’s high, surpassing 41 degrees Celsius, and the wind that has been blowing hard – the violence of the fires unleashes localized high winds – has also favored the spread of the flames and are fueling the big fires

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