181 dead and more expected. That’s the news from the front as Victoria’s bushfires continue and the remains of destroyed towns are revealed. Local media coverage remains in overdrive, while the world watches.


Google Australia has now added a page to track the fires, aid efforts and rolling news. On Twitter, Oz journalist Caroline Overington is tweeting from the media throng in affected areas, albeit in a fairly twee way:

 “We will introduce you to the volunteers who are sorting through these mountains of love.”

In the media 

Christine Nixon, we need you now. No one would deny that this is a job needing all the dedication and determination Ms Nixon has displayed in her eight years as Chief Commissioner. But is it a job that requires her experience and people skills now. — Herald Sun

Fight or flight not black and white. No doubt hindsight, and a planned Royal Commission, will suggest some things were left undone, and lessons that might make a fire of such terrible intensity less lethal in future, but what is known so far does not suggest either negligence or incompetence by the authorities. — Canberra Times

Australia’s fires, the world’s fires. The record toll in lives and destruction from Australia’s wildfires is forcing a fresh look at dealing with such threats. How to deter arson? How to prepare homeowners? Scientists can’t link this specific event to global warming, but they forecast a need to adapt to erratic weather. This has implications for fire preparedness the world over. — Christian Science Monitor

Why global warming may be fueling Australia’s fires. Our ability to adapt to the impacts of warming, including more aggressive responses to wildfires like those in Australia, will become all the more critical, lest natural disasters turn into human catastrophes. But it also means that the world we’ve become accustomed to will change, perhaps irrevocably. The wildfires in southern Australia are already the worst in the nation’s history — but they surely won’t be the last. — Bryan Walsh, TIME

Humanity endures in bushfire tragedy. The simple human reality of the bushfires has been of a shared and simple humanity: shared struggle, shared loss, shared tears, sharing of small resources like food and blankets, sharing of accommodation. Those involved at the fire front have shared this directly; others vicariously. — Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street