WASHINGTON — Two maps give an idea of the sheer magnitude of Australia's wildfires and how the immense size of the country factors in. One map, shared by the Sonoma County Fire District on Facebook, also shows just how all encompassing the fires have grown.
Many may not have realized just how massive the main island of Australia is. If the land mass is compared to the size of North America that makes up the United States and Canada, Australia would cover a considerable portion of it.
The maps shared by the Sonoma County Fire District showed the massive number of fire alerts across the main island of Australia over the weekend, along with a map laid over the United States. Those maps, with one showing the fires plotted out on Google Earth and burning across much of the country, suggest that if the U.S. were experiencing the same magnitude of fires, they would cover most of the country here as well.
As the Associated Press reports, Australia's government said it is willing to pay "whatever it takes" to fight these fires in communities around the country. Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government is committing the equivalent of $1.4 billion to fight the fires.
Additional sums have already been committed. Prime Minister Morrison said the Australian military has been trying to get food, water and much needed fuel to communities that have been burned out, as the Associated Press reported.
Some relief has come in the form of rain and cooler temperatures that came through after a rough weekend. Engineers are still reportedly working to reopen roads and help evacuation centers with much needed supplies. Teams are also helping to euthanize injured livestock and wild animals badly burned.
Another map released on Instagram by Wild Life Planet shows a more artistic take on the fires in Australia with the country glowing. The country's Koalas have suffered immensely. Reports estimate that around 8,000 koalas have been killed in the Australian state of New South Wales. That's around a third of the country's population according to Wild Life Planet.
Guardian reporter Patrick Greenfield shared video on Twitter that showed dozens of animals dead on the side of a road he was driving down. As Greenfield reports, "at least 480 million mammals, birds and reptiles are likely to have died" in the Australian state of New South Wales alone.