Australia fires are part of the ‘sixth extinction’ of plants and animals

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Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Services (WIRES) volunteer and carer Tracy Burgess holds a severely burnt brushtail possum rescued from fires near Australia’s Blue Mountains, December 29, 2019. Credit: REUTERS/Jill Gralow.

Australia’s fires have burned more than 14 million acres, an area bigger than New Hampshire and Vermont combined. Two dozen people have died, as well as 1 billion mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. Many of the animals, like koalas and kangaroos, are unique to the country. The world is already in the midst of a mass extinction event, and these climate disasters just speed it along.