SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KOLR) — According to a local resident from Australia, the fires happening in the country are devastating to everyone, both humans and animals.
At least 25 people and an estimated half a billion animals are dead as a result of the out-of-control bush fires in Australia.
Jeff Cook, a manager at Walkabout Coffee Shop, has four children and many other family members back in Australia.
“This is, you know, one of the biggest things that have ever happened in any country, as far as fire goes,” Cook said.
Cook’s family lives about 150 miles outside of Melbourne right on the coast.
“The fires are only about 60 miles away from where we are right now,” Cook said. “But even with that, there’s so much smoke, and it’s covering the whole country. So even 60 miles away, you can’t even see across the side of the road.”
Right now, fires are all over the country, mostly around the coasts, and down the middle, which is mostly desert.
A majority of the fires are on the Southeast side of the continent, near New South Wales, Victoria, also along the coasts, which is where Sydney is at.
“It affects the whole country,” Cook said. “Because one thing we got to remember is when something as big as this happens for the entire country, it not only affects the people that are directly involved, it affects the country as a whole.”
Cook says many people cannot leave because they can’t get any gas.
“Because a lot of the gas is going towards the emergency vehicles which it needs to, so some people can’t get out because they don’t have the gas to get out,” Cook said.
Many animals have been impacted as well.
“There’s a lot of talk about koala bears, and all the animals that have been affected, and they have been affected in a major way,” Cook said.
There is, however, some good news, some cooler temperatures and light rain are bringing relief for some communities.