2019-20 Australian Bushfires

2019-20 Australian Bushfires

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Updated Jan 09, 2020 at 01:23PM EST by Matt.

Added Jan 06, 2020 at 12:44PM EST by Matt.

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Overview

The 2019-20 Australia Bushfires began in September 2019 and continued into 2020. The devastating fires, which spread in the Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales (NSW) and other areas of the south-eastern coast. As of January 2020, more than 500 million animals were killed 16 million acres burned and 25 people were killed.

Background

The 2019 fire season in New South Wales began in September 2019. Two months later, on November 12th, the NSW Rural Fire Service declared a "catastrophic fire danger," only the second time the warning was issued since the system was introduced.[1][2]

As of January 2020, the fires have burned an estimated 16 million acres and destroyed more than 1,300 hours. More than 500 million animals were injured, displaced or killed as a result of the fires. As of January 6th, 26 people were killed as a result of the fires.[3]

Online Response

Following the news of the devastation of the fires, many began posting about the destruction online, particular in response to the destruction its had on the region's koala population.

On November 19th, 2019, Redditor [4] Master1718 posted in the /r/BeAmazed, "A woman rescued a koala caught in the middle of a fire in New South Wales, Australia on Tuesday. The woman took off her top and used the shirt to wrap the badly burned animal. She also offered it water from a bottle. The woman said she was going to bring the koala to a hospital." Video of the rescue received more than 53,000 points (95% upvoted) and 1,300 comments in less than two months (shown below, left).

The following month, Redditor[5] already_forgottened posted "Some saved koalas cooling off from the fires" in the /r/aww subreddit. The post received more than 82,000 points (97% upvoted) and 1,100 comments in less than


news footage of a koala walking slowly along a road in front of fires burning in the background saved koalas cooling off from the fires six koalas safe from the bushfires sitting on the floor indoors


On December 28th, Twitter user @akkitwts tweeted, "In record heat Australia and South Australia, where temperature have risen to 40 degrees, koalas approached cyclists on the road to seek water." They also included a video of the encounter. The tweet received more than 2.6 million views, 91,000 likes and 36,000 retweets in less than one month (shown below).

That day, Redditor[9] 4ourkids posted "Nearly 500 million animals killed in Australian bushfires" in the /r/worldnews subreddit. The post received more than 93,000 points (93% upvoted) and 6,400 comments in less than two weeks.

As the fires continued, so to did footage of their effects. On December 31st, Twitter[6] user @samanthamaiden tweeted an already-viral photograph of a boy in a boat escaping the fires, "Finn, the young boy captured fleeing Mallacoota has told of the terror of that day. Both his parents are firefighters." They included an image from the Daily Telegraph newspaper showing fin in a boat underneath a red sky. The tweet received more than 295 likes and 100 retweets.

Others shared the photograph. Author Scott Westerfeld tweeted,[7] "Me in 2010: 'For teens, dystopian novels reflect the Orwellian strictures and Mad Maxian exuberances of high school, creating a narrative space both ludic and cautionary.' Me in 2020: 'Kids are, like, driving flamedeath-escape boats. Fuck knows why they read my shit.'" The tweet received more than 6,900 likes and 1,500 retweets in less than one month (shown below, right).


samantha maiden @samanthamaiden Finn, the young boy captured fleeing Mallacoota has told of the terror of that day. Both his parents are firefighters 9news.com.au/national/malla... FIR Däily Telegraph 12-PAGE FIRE WRAP •4 DEAD • HOMES RAZED • THOUSANDS FLEE TO SEA TERROR COAST 10:04 PM · Dec 31, 2019 · Twitter for iPhone MATERSNAKEI Scott Westerfeld @ScottWesterfeld Me in 2010: "For teens, dystopian novels reflect the Orwellian strictures and Mad Maxian exuberances of high school, creating a narrative space both ludic and cautionary." Me in 2020: "Kids are, like, driving flamedeath-escape boats. F--- knows why they read my s---." PFO FRONT 12:02 PM · Dec 31, 2019 · Twitter Web App WATERSNAKE

On January 2nd, 2020, Bindi Irwin, daughter of Steve Irwin, also known as the Crocodile Hunter, posted on Instagram, [10] "With so many devastating fires within Australia, my heart breaks for the people and wildlife who have lost so much. I wanted to let you know that we are SAFE. There are no fires near us @AustraliaZoo or our conservation properties. Our Wildlife Hospital is busier than ever though, having officially treated over 90,000 patients. My parents dedicated our Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital to my beautiful grandmother. We will continue to honour her by being Wildlife Warriors and saving as many lives as we can." The post received more than 230,000 reactions in less than one week (shown below).


bindisueirwin O. Follow Australia Zoo bindisueirwin With so many devastating fires within Australia, my heart breaks for the people and wildlife who have lost so much. I wanted to let you know that we are SAFE. There are no fires near us @AustraliaZoo or our conservation properties. Our Wildlife Hospital is busier than ever though, having officially treated over 90,000 patients. My parents dedicated our Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital to my beautiful grandmother. We will continue 4 DAYS AGO Add a comment.. Post

Kaylen Ward's "The Naked Philanthropist" Campaign

Kaylen Ward's "The Naked Philanthropist" Campaign refers to Twitter user @lilearthangelk, aka Kaylen Ward, offering to exchange nude pictures of herself for $10 donations towards fundraisers for wildfires in Australia. On January 3rd, 2020 She wrote,[8] "I’m sending nudes to every person who donates atleast $10 to any one of these fundraisers for the wildfires in Australia. Every $10 you donate = one nude picture from me to your DM. You must send me confirmation that you donated" (shown below). The campaign went viral, resulting in an estimated $700,000 worth of donations as of January 6th, 2020.


THE NAKED PHILANTHROPIST @lilearthangelk I'm sending nudes to every person who donates atleast $10 to any one of these fundraisers for the wildfires in Australia. Every $10 you donate = one nude picture from me to your DM. You must send me confirmation that you donated. Please RT #AustraliaOnFire #AustraliaFires A support tha cause Thread Together Newcastle open doors for catastrophic fire risk Central Coast and Hunter Valley Horse and Livestock Evacuation & Rescue Aid volunteer/support-your- Fire and Flood HELP for Horses Mid North Coast ty) (VIC) aboutisupporting-cfa auses (OLD & NSW) NSW FIRE EVACUATION PET ASSISTANCE NSW Koala Hospital Port Macquarie https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-thirsty-koalas- devastated-by-recent-fires WIRES Emergency Fund: https:/www.wires.org auldonstejemergency-fund WWF-Australia: https://www.wwf.org au/get-iwolved/bushire- emergencyags.pg57ip Koalas In Care Inc. The Rescue Collective SA) ydonate d Service Can't donate donating blood om.au World Community Service ster Relief: u/campaigns/disaster- res alia Disaster Appeal Are you or someone you know aftected by the fires? Some useful inks below: Service NSW Assistance for bushfire affected communities: https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/sssistance-bushfire- affected-communities NSW Office of Emergency Maragement: https://waw.emergency.nsw.gov.au Vie Emergency: http:/emergency.vic.gov.au/preparetunderstanding- org auldonate/make-a- ppeal-disasterappeal Appeal: Mjappeals-now/vinnies- on: warnings Department of Human Services: https://www.humanservices.gov.auindividuals es: centrelink w.gov.auPages/for-the- ance/Narthern-Fires- 9:20 PM · Jan 3, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

#ArsonEmergency and Arson Charges

In late December 2020, hashtag #ArsonEmergency has gained popularity in tweets promoting climate change denial. For example, a January 1st, 2020, post by Twitter[18] user @BeachMilk received over 670 retweets and 940 likes in one week. A January 6th, 2020, post by Twitter[19] user @MRobertsQLD gained over 220 retweets and 500 likes.

On January 1st, 2020, Tasmania Police Northern Commander Brett Smith said that police had reasons to believe the main fire in northeast Tasmania and other fires in the area have been deliberately lit.[20]

On January 7th, 2020, The Guardian[21] published a social network analysis performed by the Queensland University of Technology senior lecturer Dr. Timothy Graham using tweetbotornot bot detection tool. The research revealed "a suspiciously high number of bot-like and troll-like accounts" making tweets with this hashtag, as well as #australiafire and #bushfireaustralia hashtags.

On January 6th, 2020, New South Wales Police Force[11] stated that since November 8th, 2019, legal action has been taken against 183 people for 205 bushfire-related offenses. Out of the 183, 24 people have been charged over alleged deliberately-lit bushfires, 53 have had legal actions for allegedly failing to comply with a total fire ban and 47 have had legal actions for allegedly discarding a lighted cigarette or match. In the following days, multiple news outlets reported that 24 individuals accused of intentionally starting bushfires have been arrested.[12][13][14]

Starting on January 6th, 2020, a number of right-wing politicians and media outlets mispresented the statement by claiming that all 183 individuals have been arrested for deliberately starting bushfires, with some also using the statement to promote climate change denial. For example, on January 6th, Infowars[15] claimed that "nearly 200 people have been arrested across Australia for deliberately starting bushfires." On the same day, far-right conspiracy theorists and Infowars contributor Paul Joseph Watson tweeted[16] that "Authorities in Australia say the fires were started by arsonists, not 'climate change'" with the tweet accumulating over 28,200 likes and 9,700 retweets in two days (tweet shown below).


Paul Joseph Watson @PrisonPlanet Authorities in Australia say the fires were started by arsonists, not "climate change." @itvnews · Jan 6 ITV News "When one country faces a climate disaster, we all face a climate disaster. Australian-born Cate Blanchett took to the stage at the #GoldenGlobes to highlight the wildfires fires ravaging her native country and demand action against climate change itv.com/news/2020-01-0... itv NEWS 0:46 426K views 2:32 PM Jan 6, 2020 · Twitter Web App

On January 7th, 2020, Snopes fact-checked the claims.[17] They determined that the reports were false, calling Watson's claim "a distortion of the facts." Snopes writes:

Police in New South Wales released a statement disclosing that since Nov. 8, 2019, 183 people, including 40 juveniles, have been charged with 205 bushfire-related offenses. Of the 183, 24 people have been charged with deliberately setting fires. According to police, of the 183, another “53 people have had legal actions for allegedly failing to comply with a total fire ban,” and an additional “47 people have had legal actions for allegedly discarding a lighted cigarette or match on land.”

They also reported that the fires were "facilitated by extreme weather linked to climate change, like drought and a prolonged wildfire season in Australia, which has also been experiencing extreme heat."

Search Interest

External References

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Top Comments

"MYAAH Man" Skely Savage
"MYAAH Man" Skely Savage

It's ironic.

As an Australian I always had this little niggle in the back of my mind that as a country we were, for the most part, safe from the rest of the world if war were to break out due to distance and lack of land borders..

Yes, bushfires have been prevalent in the past, but now that we are rapidly approaching the biggest fire in human history (#1 is 2003 Siberia fires), I definitely was the fool.

Oh, and #DearYourMajesty

+53
"MYAAH Man" Skely Savage
"MYAAH Man" Skely Savage

in reply to Master Pain

It's very complex to explain but the easiest way I can summarise it is the Prime Minister went on holiday, lied about being on holiday, then forced those who have lost their homes to shake his hand because him visiting is "a good thing," and then forced Army Reserves to be relief firefighters.. despite cutting $19 million worth of fire relief in this years election in May.

OR IN MEME EXPLANATION:

+46

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