Environmental International

Australia Fires: Farming Effects, Rescue Dogs, And Effects Of Rain

Australia bushfires cause broccoli shortage at supermarkets

The florets are flaming out.

Australian supermarkets are reportedly grappling with a shortage of broccoli and other produce as the country’s massive bushfires ravage farms.

Coles — one of Australia’s largest grocery store chains — said broccoli supplies are suffering because of the fires, which have slammed at least 19,000 farmers, the Daily Mail reported Wednesday.

“Availability of some fresh produce, meat and grocery items has been impacted by bushfire and extreme weather conditions,” a Coles spokesperson told a reporter for local TV station 7NEWS. “ …We apologize to our customers if the product they wish to buy is currently unavailable and thank them for helping us to help Australian farmers and suppliers.”

The company said it’s trying to help suppliers by purchasing fruit and vegetables that may be blemished or smaller than usual.

Rain brings joy to farmers in NSW and Victoria and dampens some bushfires as others burn

Fire-hit areas receive desperately needed rain, as severe thunderstorms cause flooding in Melbourne

 Rain brings relief and flash floods to eastern Australia – video

Up to 50mm of rain has fallen across parts of New South Wales and Victoria, dampening bushfires even as dozens more continue to burn.

Fire-hit regions of NSW’s Snowy Valley and south coast, and Victoria’s East Gippsland and north-east, received as much as 15mm of desperately needed rain on Wednesday and Thursday, while severe thunderstorms caused flooding in Melbourne.

However, more than 80 fires in NSW and 18 in Victoria continued to burn on Thursday, and lightning started two new fires in Victoria’s Great Otway national park, on the state’s south coast.

The NSW Rural Fire Service and Victorian Country Fire Authority said the rain they had received was not enough to put out existing fires.

A spokesman for the CFA said they had seen rain activity but “unfortunately it had minimal impact in suppressing the fire activity across east and north-east Victoria”.

“Although this rain won’t extinguish all fires, it will certainly go a long way towards containment,” the RFS said.

 

Meet the team of dogs rescuing koalas injured in Australia’s fires

Koalas have been hit particularly hard by Australia’s raging bushfires. One Australian has turned to a familiar friend to help the animals – dogs.

CBS News followed three special canines, Tommy, Emma and Becky, and their trainer Steve Austin, as they searched scorched land for injured but still living koalas.

It is estimated that a third of New South Wales’ koala population has died, while numbers are higher in other states. With an approximate population of 100,000 to 200,000 in the wild before the fires, koalas were already on the verge of extinction. The Word Wildlife Fund now says that more than 30,000 may have perished, although the final toll won’t be known for months.

Koalas are also known to breed so slowly that it could take 100 years for the population to rebuild. This means that saving just one is crucial.

Austin, who has been working with dogs for 30 years, explained why dogs are perfect for the job. “The beauty of the dog is it’s got no bias. It won’t go, ‘oh well there can’t be a koala over there. There has to be a koala,'” he said, adding that the dogs’ noses are their best tool.

 

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