I’d like to send a heartfelt thanks to all you lovely readers who’ve contacted me over the past few weeks to express their concern with the bushfire situation in Australia.

I guess I’ve lived with bushfires all my life, but thankfully on the edge so to speak. I remember as a kid going to bed and watching the blood red sky at night, and wondering what I would take if I had to get out. To be honest, the fires were miles and miles away, but to a child, they might well have been next door. This latest spate of fires is indeed “next door.”

So far Australia has lost 25.5 million acres to bushfire. To put that into perspective for you, it is the equivalent of losing about 60% of Missouri to fire. It’s like setting a torch to something the size of South Korea.

So huge is the area, it has dwarfed other ones you’ve heard of recently. The California fires of 2018 burned 2 million acres, and the Amazon rain forest ones last year obliterated 2.2 million acres. The smoke from the fires has reached New Zealand – a three-hour plane trip away from Sydney.

It really doesn’t help that our beloved eucalyptus trees have sap that is flammable, and the trees can literally explode, sending flaming bark far and wide. Fire is actually one of the ways the trees propagate. Isn’t Mother Nature awesome – and I do mean awe inspiring, not as in “what an awesome haircut you have.”

Twenty-seven hundred firefighters from New South Wales alone are on the ground to help stop the blazes. The state has the fourth largest contingent of firefighters in the world under normal circumstances, employing nearly 7,000 men and women in that capacity.

The Aussie government (finally, I might add) called in the defense forces to get in and help. Other countries have joined in, and there are now firefighters from New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, the United States and Canada pitching in. The Royal Navy has evacuated citizens from beaches as they were driven to the shores by the intensity of the fires.

My very brave, and I believe, in my own sisterly point of view, slightly loony 71-year-old brother is a member of the volunteer fire service, and he was deployed 320 miles away on the south coast of the state. He was down there a nail-biting week, but I’m glad to say he’s home safe and sound now.

To top it all off, Australia is in the middle of a very nasty drought. A friend of mine has had a quarter of an inch of rain in six months. Think of that, dear reader while you’re brushing your teeth with the water running in the basin. No rain is even really expected till at least the end of February, and rivers have long since dried up.

I am by no means a climate alarmist. I do believe we have climate change, and I do believe we have global warming. I also very firmly believe that as the Earth has experienced at least two ice ages in its history, I’d reckon chances are pretty good that climate change and global warming have been happily romping around in the mix for millennia.

But, dear readers, just in case – please pray for rain for your Aussie allies.

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at anniedear@icloud.com.