Wildfires Threaten Australia’s Capital

“It may become uncontrollable.”

Rick Rycroft/AP

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The historic and deadly wildfires that have engulfed Australia since September continue to rage, with residents living in and around the national capital city of Canberra bracing for more devastation. Local officials have declared a state of emergency, the first in 17 years, for the entire capital territory.

So far, the Australian bush fires have killed 33 people, destroyed thousands of homes, and burned 26.2 million acres of land. International media has been flooded with pictures of blazing fires and wind as people and animals alike seek refuge. As Mother Jones‘ Will Peischel reported last month, the fires have been fueled by the global climate crisis:

Since September, the combination of soaring temperatures and a severe drought has triggered wildfires across Australia that have enveloped more than six times the land burned during California’s devastating 2018 wildfire season. The current blazes encompass an area about the size of Scotland and have released an estimated 200 million tons of carbon dioxide—equivalent to about 40 percent of the country’s annual average carbon emissions—into the atmosphere above the state of New South Wales, where the fires have been the most devastating. With more than 100 separate fires still burning, the end isn’t anywhere in sight. Some estimates have wildfires continuing for months into 2020.

Area residents are being warned of deadly risks.

 

“This fire may become very unpredictable,” Andrew Barr, the chief minister of Australia’s capital territory, said in a statement. “It may become uncontrollable.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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