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Local professor talks about impact of wildfires in Australia

MILLERSVILLE, Pa. – Australia’s Prime Minister warned the wildfires will have a major impact on the land and residents, as some of the locals are fr...

MILLERSVILLE, Pa. - Australia's Prime Minister warned the wildfires will have a major impact on the land and residents, as some of the locals are frustrated by evacuations.

A half-billion animals are estimated to have died so far, and the land left unscorched is still patched from a three- year drought. Air quality has been a concern all across Australia, even in cities where fires are not burning.

Back here in the United States. We've experience similar disasters in other parts of the country, like California. Duane Hagelgans, an assistant professor at Millersville University, Center for Disaster Research and Education, said major disasters like this become the center of emergency management courses, so experts can become better prepared in the future.

"Well it matters a great deal for lots of reasons," Hagelgans said. "I think it's almost 3 dozen people now who have lost their lives. Anytime somebody loses their life in a fire, any fire, it's a serious issue. Because we can prevent a loss of life in fire. So we need to study what's happening there, and again, equate it to the United States and see if there's anything we need to do better here. Anything we can do that we can help them."

Hagelgans said once the fires are out. firefighters from across the United States, and the World, will help with recovery efforts.