The sky finally cracked open atop much of the fire grounds in NSW, Australia this week – the welcome deluge slashing the number of burning fires to below 100 for the first time in more than a month.
But the challenge is far from over as the finger-pointing game ignites. Much of the international attention – from Hollywood to political leaders alike – have focused on the fires as being the perils of climate change, and the nation’s ineffective policies in combating the globally pressing issue.
Russell Crowe has avowed that “the tragedy unfolding in Australia is climate change-based” and Cate Blanchett stressed that “when one country faces a climate disaster, we all face a climate disaster, so we’re in it together.” Meanwhile, scores of others, from Metallica and Pink to Elton John and Chris Hemsworth, have dug deep into their pockets and donated to those endeavoring to combat the infernos.
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Yet authorities say it was a perfect storm of disturbing factors. “There are many reasons for the fires starting,” Paul Baxter, Commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW and President and Board Chair of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council (AFAC), told Fox News. “Some have been natural – lightning – and some have been caused by human, both maliciousness and carelessness.”