A slice of this Aussie life

Australia is notable for quite a few things and, regrettably, bushfire is one of them.

Given we are such a massive continent it is perhaps not surprising that our bushfires tend to be large and furious. They are very scary events. We are certainly not the only place on Earth that faces this testing challenge but the scale of our fires is a bit beyond the norm.

The underpinning factor is the cycle of flood and drought. Every so often we get massive inundations of rain – and they are very welcome, despite the damage they cause. They replenish the underground aquifers and enable the growth of new grass. This is a boon for native and introduced species.

The past two years have seen enormous floods that have transformed the landscape over vast areas. Inevitably, though, the dry returns with a vengeance. Those who have the endurance to farm or graze this country know that the good times rarely last for long.

And, so, we have plunged back into the fiery furnaces of hell this past week as temperatures have soared and all that green growth of the past few seasons has turned tinder dry and parched to the point where the will to live has evaporated.

A temperature map of Australia shows that almost nine-tenths of the nation is experiencing above 30C temps. More to the point, around 15% of the landmass is suffering under temperatures that are reaching 50C each day.

The consequence is inevitable. In Queensland alone, an area of around 1 million square kilometers is being affected by wildfires. That’s a big number. To put it into perspective, it equates to the combined size of France, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

No, we don’t do things by halves here in the great Land Down Under. We just try to manage Mother Nature as best we can. But we do know that she is always The Boss.