An immense coal fire has been spewing smoke and ash in Australia since February 9. Australia’s Hazelwood open cut mine fire has adversely impacted air quality and the situation continues to deteriorate in eastern Victoria. According to Australia’s Environment Protection Agency (EPA) air quality index reading above 150 is very poor, recent readings climbed to 702 at Morwell. Local communities are not the only ones being impacted. Thick smoke from the fire is impacting communities as far as Sale which is 65 kilometers away.
The poor air quality has forced the closure of some schools and children are being forced to relocate. The water being used to fight the blaze threatens mine infrastructure and may disrupt energy generation at Hazelwood power station.
Fire officials and the military are onsite to combat the blaze. However the fire is expected to burn for weeks. Fire authorities have warned citizens about the danger of falling trees on roads in the burnt areas.
This fire is yet another indication that the current Australian government’s fixation on its dirty coal resources may not be in the best interest of the nation.
© 2014, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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