Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Victorian Fires in Australia

Something you're probably hearing a lot about these days is the wildfires in Victoria, Australia. Having experienced the latest episode of wildfires in the Southern California area (i.e. Sylmar, Montecito, and Yorba Linda/Anaheim Hills) back in November, I can envision the scene going on down under, but the death toll there is over 170 people and counting so clearly there's more seriousness to their situation than what we had.

While listening to Australian radio (Triple J), I heard familiar towns like Marysville, Kingslake, and Beechworth mentioned. Such towns were engulfed in the inferno and they also happened to be waterfall spots that we had visited. I can't help but feel for the people who have lost lives as well as their homes.

All this is yet another reminder of how climate change is drying temperate and subtropical regions (the Los Angeles basin is under similar conditions) and could be a warning for all of us to clean up our act or else see more of this (or worse). It's conceivable that the Western US from California to Washington could become like the Sahara based on the expanding tropics according to the New Scientist.

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