Updated: Jan 31
As the bushfires are now making worldwide headlines I believe it is time for me to make a comment on them.
First of all I would like to say that I am completely safe here in Port Douglas, Tropical North Queensland. Our wet season has started and we have had rain on and off for a few weeks now. Unfortunately the same can not be said for many other parts of Australia.
When I first came to Australia I knew that bush fires were a common thing, and therefore did not really worry when I started to hear about the fires back in October. Three months later and these fires are still burning and don’t appear to be stopping any time soon. It has become clear that this is no longer a common thing.
Of course my heart goes out to all of those who have lost their homes, towns and essentially everything they know. But as a nature photographer, the thing that has really brought a tear to my eye is the loss of fauna and flora.
It has been estimated that around 500 million birds, mammals and reptiles have already died in these fires. This does not include the insects or plant species which have been burned. These numbers will only go up as the fires continue to burn.
Stirling Ranges, a national park in Western Australia, is home to at least 87 species of flora which are not found anywhere else in the world. It was struck by a bolt of lightning on boxing day and the fire tore through the park for almost a week destroying 40,000 hectares of land. This is the second year in a row that the park has been struck by fire and experts are worried that it will not recover, especially if fires continue to come more frequently.
It is possible that some of the 87 species only found in the Stirling Ranges have become extinct. I believe without doubt that many species of plants and insects, maybe even some mammals, reptiles and birds, will become endangered and even extinct as a direct or indirect result of these bushfires.
This planet is warming up, the climate is changing, and natural disasters are happening more often. With this we are going to lose many species, but we are also going to gain new ones. So I urge everyone to not be put off visiting an area because the media says its dead. This is not true, there is life everywhere on earth, you just have to look.