If you're a die-hard tennis fan, then you've heard about the Australian Open. Considered one of the four major tournaments, all the top names in tennis (as well as the rising stars) gather to rally against each other and demonstrate their skills.

However, if you're someone who has any knowledge about world news, you would know that Australia is currently on fire. Years of droughts and dry weather have culminated in devastating forest fires. These fires are raging through cities and wildlife, razing both to the ground.

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There have been reports of dozens of species going extinct, as well as thousands of people having to be evacuated from their homes. Firefighters have been continuously battling these blazes that the country simply couldn't have prepared for.

In a very small silver lining, it hasn't stopped the Australian Open. However, if you've decided to brave the elements and attend the event, there are a few things that you need to be aware of.

Smoke, Smoke and More Smoke!

These blazes have created copious amounts of billowing smoke that have traveled beyond the scopes of the cities and even the country! Neighboring New Zealand, despite being over 200km away, can see the flames and feel the effects of the smoke.

The players at the Australian Open, unfortunately, have not been spared. The sky in Melbourne is thick with smog and smoke. The qualifying events had to be delayed and Slovenian player, Dalila Jakupovic, had a terrifying coughing fit that forced her to end her match early.

Many people are at risk for respiratory distress, especially vulnerable populations, such as children and the elderly. It's completely dependent on which way the wind decides to blow.

You May Need To Invest In Bottled Water

Smoke is not the only thing spreading. Ash from the fires is making its way all over the country, including into the water. It's washing up on the beach and getting into freshwater reserves, significantly limiting the amount of drinkable water.

Ash entering the water is also concerning for the animals and plants that live in it. Ash contained both phosphorous and nitrogen which, in high concentrations, can increase the growth of blue-green algae. As the algae grow, they suck the oxygen out of the water, causing many fish species and marine life to asphyxiate.

The coral reefs are also suffering. In the late 1990s, wildfires in Indonesia spread smoke into Australia. The smoke, being rich in iron and other minerals, asphyxiated many coral reefs. This could very well be occurring right now.

A Victim And A Cause Of Climate Change

As oxymoronic as it may seem, the Australian bushfires have not only occurred because of climate change but have also contributed to it. The bushfires themselves were caused by a chronic drought that has been happening since 2017. The unusually high instances of extreme heat, lack of water and increased carbon emissions can be found in many dry parts of the world.

However, the mind-boggling amount of smoke and pollution that has been released because of these fires only adds to the global crisis. During the normal bushfire seasons, the forests would usually absorb the carbon emissions. However, due to global warming, fires are burning more frequently and more intensely. So far, 400 megatonnes of carbon have been released into the atmosphere!

Not only does this make Australia's greenhouse gas emissions skyrocket, but it also contributes to global warming, which will, in turn, increase the likelihood that fires of this magnitude will reoccur. As much as the Australian wants to argue that these bushfires are common, fires of this magnitude and this level of devastation can't be explained away!

Food Will Be An Issue

One of the areas of Australia that has been hit the hardest is agriculture. Pastures and livestock have all succumbed to the smoke and flames. It's being reported that recovery from this will likely take years, as well as require an already dwindling water supply. In particular, the dairy industry has been hit the hardest due to Victoria and New South Wales losing the greatest amount of farmland.

It's also being reported that 13% of the national sheep flock has been affected by the fires, which will impact meat and wool production. Climate change has already challenged the food security and agricultural sector due to irregular rain cycles, warming, and more intense meteorological events. This newest event has only added to the devastation.

What's even more alarming is that desertification is becoming more frequent. The lack of rain combined with dry land and an overabundance of human activity has led to the land no longer becoming fertile. The bushfires will only contribute to the number of deserts that we see popping up throughout Australis in the next little while.