Deadly Fires Shift Australians’ Perspective on Climate Change, Similar to Californians

An animal rescuer carries kangaroo burned in a brush fire on Feb. 4, 2020, in Peak View, Australia. (Credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

An animal rescuer carries kangaroo burned in a brush fire on Feb. 4, 2020, in Peak View, Australia. (Credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

The turning point came in 2017, when wind-whipped blazes swept through the foothills, jumped a freeway and burned through thousands of homes and businesses, killing more than 40 people.

The fires in Northern California’s wine country — followed by an even more deadly inferno in Paradise the following year — led many Californians to recognize that climate change was not some distant threat but an immediate catalyst of the state’s ever-more destructive blazes.

Australia is now going through a similar shift in perspective amid fires that have burned more than 30 million acres.

“No one can recall an event like this,” said Nick Clark, a farmer who lost most of his sheep’s pasture to a wind-driven fire on Southern Australia’s Kangaroo Island in mid-January. “And you can say that about a lot of weather events in Australia. It’s hard to say that it’s just a cycle; I think you have to concede that it’s more than just that.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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