As wildfires in Australia continue to burn, despite the welcomed rainfall, the massive blaze could have a global impact.
According to NASA, smoke from the fires is expected to make one “full circuit” around the world. Smoke from the fires began pouring into New Zealand, discoloring glaciers and turning the sky ashy. On January 8, the smoke had traveled halfway around the world to South America, where it caused hazy skies and technicolor sunrises and sunsets. NASA predicts that the clouds that have formed as a result of the fires will eventually make one “full circuit” and blow back into Australia.
The fires show no sign of slowing down anytime soon. They have burned more than 17 million acres of land, killed at least 28 people, destroyed thousands of homes and endangered half a billion animals, according to CNN. Although the affected areas are larger than Belgium and Denmark combined, you might not need to cancel your upcoming trip to Australia.
“It is more important than ever to support Australian tourism providers, whether in unaffected regions or those that will recover from these bushfires in the months and years to come,” according to Australia Tourism. “If you cannot travel to an affected area due to bushfires, one of the many ways to help includes rescheduling instead of cancelling a planned trip to support the communities in the coming months.”
All of the country’s international airports are operating as normal. Popular destinations like Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Perth, Uluru, Alice Springs, the Coral Coast, Adelaide and Tasmania are not impacted by the fires. Although Sydney is not impacted, it is a destination to keep your eye on. Last month, smoke from the fires caused alarms to go off in office buildings in Sydney.
Visitors to Melbourne should be aware of “very poor” air quality, according to Victoria's Environmental Protection Agency as a map of the areas of East Gippsland and Upper Murray in the state of Victoria shows how affected they are by active bushfires.
Travelers with plans to visit should remain in contact with their accommodations and local Visitor Information Centres for up-to-date and more specific information on their destinations.
Australia is only about halfway through its summer season, meaning the fires could continue to roar for another couple of months before settling down. They are unlikely to end entirely because they are an annual event. And, if recent years are any indication, Australia’s fire seasons may be worsening.
Those without travel plans who are looking to help can visit Travel + Leisure’s guide to vetted charities accepting donations in Australia. Additionally, the country was named as T+L's 2020 Destination of the Year, thanks to it's new experiences and hotels that have opened up less-frequented destinations and new non-stop flight routes to the land down under.
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