The massive bushfires in Australia are still spreading as heat, high winds, and (mostly) dry weather as flames keep burning through much of the southeastern part of the country.
The blazes have proved deadly and destructive, burning through more than 15.6 million acres, or more than 24,000 square miles — an area larger than the state of West Virginia. The fires have now killed at least 25 people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes. An estimated 1 billion animals have been lost in the disaster.
What’s the cause of these fires? It’s a mix of ocean circulation, years of drought, and climate change fueling Australia’s record heat. It’s currently summer in Australia, and high temperatures, dry weather, and wildfires are not unusual this time of year. But the severity and continued persistence of these fiery conditions are alarming.