As climate change pushes California’s fire season into Australia’s, an intricate system of resource sharing struggles with the load.
Sharing the giant air tankers that fight fires 5,000 gallons of water at a time used to be simpler. California’s wildfires faded before Australia’s bush fires surged, leaving time to prepare, move and deploy planes from one continent to another.
But climate change is subverting the system.
Fire seasons are running longer, stronger, hotter. The major fires now blanketing Sydney in smoke started early, within days of the last California blazes.
And the strain is global. Countries that used to manage without extra help, like Chile, Bolivia and Cyprus, have started competing for plane and helicopter contracts as their own fires intensify. That is stretching capacity for the companies that provide most of the globe’s largest firefighting aircraft, and increasing anxiety for fire officials worldwide.
Read more at the New York Times