“It’s an Atomic Bomb”: Australia Deploys Military as “Firenados” Wreak Havoc, Fire Crisis Grows
“It’s an Atomic Bomb”: Australia Deploys Military as “Firenados” Wreak Havoc, Fire Crisis Grows by Elias Marat for Activist Post
Australia’s government has announced that it would call up 3,000 military reservists to confront an unprecedented bushfire crisis that is producing nightmarish “firenados”—cyclonic fire-tornadoes—and conditions that some are comparing to the aftermath of nuclear warfare.
On Saturday, beleaguered Prime Minister Scott Morrison sought to reassure the country’s population that his government would take unprecedented measures to contain the fires, which have raged since September. According to AFP, Morrison said:
Today’s decision puts more boots on the ground, puts more planes in the sky, puts more ships at sea.
The addition of 3,000 reservists to firefighting efforts, which have already seen the deployment of roughly 2,000 military personnel, amounts to what authorities say is most likely the largest maritime rescue operation in Australia’s history, reports the New York Times. Military aircraft, naval ships, and other materiel will also be made available to assist evacuation and firefighting efforts.
Defense Minister Linda Reynolds said:
The government has not taken this decision lightly … It is the first time that reserves have been called out in this way in living memory.
The environmental calamity has been stoked by a combination of extreme winds, record-shattering heat waves, and drought-parched forests, grasslands, and brush.
Australia’s bushfires have also grown so monstrous that they are generating their own weather in the form of pyro-cumulonimbus clouds—dry thunderstorms that create more fires—according to Victoria’s Bureau of Meteorology. Fire-generated thunderstorms have appeared over the fires in two different locations. NASA describes them as the “fire-breathing dragon of clouds.”
The #AustralianBushfires are so intense they are creating fire-induced thunderstorms capable of starting new fires through lightning, lofting of embers and generation of powerful wind outflows. Aptly named #pyrocumulonimbus @cnni @CNN @CNNweather @CopernicusEU @BOM_au pic.twitter.com/vIdr89dD84
— Derek Van Dam (@VanDamCNN) January 2, 2020
The storms have further introduced an unpredictable dynamic to the spread of fires and rapid, erratic changes, CNN reports. Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Neil Bennett told Australia’s ABC:
The prediction of fire weather in terms of wind is critical and when you’ve got a highly variable wind environment as you do with a thunderstorm, if you have that in the fire environment, those winds become very, very difficult to predict.
The dry thunderstorms have also triggered cyclonic fire-tornadoes, or “firenados,” which have ripped through arid regions of southern Australia in recent days.
Incredible footage of a so-called “fire twister” on #KangarooIsland has revealed the intensity of the flames burning near the Ravine Des Casoars Wilderness Protection Area. 🌪️
— ABC Adelaide (@abcadelaide) January 3, 2020