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2020 Jan 04 - Australian Wildfires

20200104
It's 2020, a new year, and a lot of people have a new years resolution to stop drinking for January but it seems that the country of Australia have massively misunderstood what the term 'Dry January' means as a tinderbox of dry undergrowth has contributed to some of the worst wildfires in recent history. Looking over the headline claims there's death, hundreds of millions of dollars of damage, vast clouds of smoke visible from space and scenes resembling something out of Mad Max. Certainly this was probably not what people were expecting last year at Edgbaston when they chanted and gloated about Australia retaining the Ashes in 2020.

But of course the real crux of this story inevitable turns to whether this tragedy was man-made and I saw someone on the internet commenting that if that's how hot and arid the weather is in January, imagine how bad it could be in the summer, completely ignoring of course the this IS the summer in the southern hemisphere. Probably one of the few good thing about this particular disaster is that it's about a month's journey by sea to get to Australia so it's unlikely that we'll see Greta Thunberg sailing out there. Nonetheless, I think it's important to add that this fire was very much man made. A hundred years ago, people used to actively manage the forest, the aboriginal people recognised that you needed to start small fires to burn away the undergrowth, otherwise you'd create a nationwide tinderbox that burnt faster and fiercer than the chicken phall that my old curry house in Durham used to make. A dish that ironically was best put out with a pint of Fosters or Castlemaine XXXX.

What we do know for sure is there's a lot more urban development and stuff to burn down than the last time Australia last had a fire like this, and thus the damage (in terms of dollars) will be higher by definition, because there's more nowadays to physically destroy and not because of climate change. Probably the saddest part to the story is that if a huge rainstorm were to gather and douse the flames in the next few days, it would be declared unusual, perhaps "unseasonal" and get the climate protestors more excited than the time that failed presidential candidate Al Gore decided to go on tour promoting a conspiracy theory that actually had nothing to do Russia. Lesson there for you Hilary.
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