The Australia Fires: Everything You Need to Read

The Australia Letter is a weekly newsletter from our Australia bureau. Sign up to get it by email. This week’s issue is written by Isabella Kwai, a reporter with the Australia bureau.


Australians have started the new year anxious and alarmed with unprecedented bushfires engulfing parts of the country, causing thousands to flee the southeastern coast under blood-red skies.

But the fires have been blazing around Australia since September, killing at least 24 people and gutting an area larger than Denmark. Over 2,000 homes have been destroyed and conditions are expected to worsen this weekend, with months left to go in a fire season that seems to get longer every year.

Our reporters have been on the ground capturing the crisis as it unfolded, whether speaking with evacuees or analyzing why it happened — and telling readers how to help.

Here are some of the highlights of our coverage.

  • Donate $10 to Australia, Get a Nude Photo: Nude models found a provocative way to raise money for wildfire relief.

  • Koala Mittens and Baby Bottles: Saving Australia’s Animals After Fires: Millions of animals, many found on no other continent, may have perished, and Australians are taking care of some of the survivors.

  • How to Help Victims of Australia’s Fires: With people displaced and wildlife populations gutted, here are some ways to help.

  • As Fires Rage, Australia Sees Its Leader as Missing in Action: Many have been frustrated by what they see as Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s nonchalant response to the crisis.

  • Millions of Australians Are Choking on Smoke From Wildfires: Australians in major cities, not threatened by flames, are still experiencing this crisis in their lungs.

  • Why the Fires in Australia Are So Bad: Bushfire season is nothing new to Australians, but this summer has been calamitous — and it’s far from over.

  • Opinion|Australia Is Committing Climate Suicide: As record fires rage, the country’s leaders seem intent on sending it to its doom, says the novelist Richard Flanagan.

  • Australia Shows Us the Road to Hell: The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman finds the political reaction scarier than the fires.

  • Some of Australia’s Smallest Species Could Be Lost to Wildfires: Velvet worms, trapdoor spiders: Scientists worry about the fate of the nation’s many remarkable, overlooked creatures.

  • What You Need to Know About Traveling to Australia During This Fire Season: Experts recommend getting travel insurance, checking on airline and hotel cancellation policies, and knowing exactly what areas are affected.