Australia’s fires have grown so monstrous that they are now generating their own weather.
(TMU) — 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.
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