Australia Fires: Devastating Satellite Photos Show Smoke Cloud Bigger Than USA Extends to Chile

By Elias Marat

New images from space depicting the extent of Australia’s bushfire crisis have shown the frightful scale of the catastrophe facing not only the country but the entire world.

Over the weekend, incredible satellite photos published by Maxar Technologies and shared by news agencies showed the wildfires raging in different parts of the island continent.

The images were a combination of natural-colored satellite photos and shortwave infrared images looking through the thick smoke and capturing the eerie glow of the fires from space.

In other satellite images, huge plumes of smoke from the bushfire can be seen moving from New Zealand and making its way across the Pacific and into the South American country of Chile.

The presence of smoke in South America is a result of westerly winds from the southeast pushing the massive plumes from New Zealand all the way across the Pacific Ocean, according to news.com.au.

The development comes as NASA and NOAA images show that the smoke has created a cloud bigger than the area of the mainland United States.

Over 200 fires continue to burn across the country, with upwards of 12.35 million acres being devastated in the blaze. Some 1,500 homes have been lost since the crisis broke out in September, while at least 24 people have been killed and dozens remain missing.

Rain showers fell Sunday and early Monday across the country’s South Coast, which has been a flashpoint of the fires. Residents of Sydney broke out into spontaneous cheers as the sooty rain fell, while enthusiastic social media users shared video of the downpour.

However, officials warn that the rain and temporary drop in temperatures won’t be capable of putting out the worst blazes before conditions worsen again and temperatures rise later by Thursday, news.com.au reports.

On Monday, New South Wales (NSW) state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said:

“There is no room for complacency. 

This morning it is all about recovery, making sure people who have been displaced have somewhere safe.”

However, New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons greeted the changed conditions as a “welcome reprieve,” according to the Daily Express.

ABC reported that a break in emergency-level conditions gave authorities an opportunity to rescue many people and begin large-scale evacuation operations.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned on Sunday that the fires may burn for “months to go.” Military reservists have been called up by the thousands to assist in firefighting efforts.

Over half a billion wild animals are believed to have been killed by the flames. Entire rare and endangered species may have been wiped out. Over 30,000 koalas are feared to have died in the fires, transforming the beloved national mascot into a symbol of a national and global tragedy.

Morrison has faced fierce criticism for his government’s response—or lack thereof—to the climate crisis and a confused response to the bushfires. On Saturday, reports emerged of firefighters cursing the prime minister and saying that he should “get fucked” and resign.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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