MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Every two years the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire marching Blugolds go international. For sophomore trumpet player, Lucy Smith, the upcoming trip to Australia and New Zealand is dream come true.
But with the continent ablaze with devastating wildfires, the trip — only six days away — is causing concern.
“It’s definitely something that’s going to affect our trip but we’re going to try to not let it impact us too much,” Smith said.
Hundreds of wildfires are destroying the precious habitat and homes all across the continent down under. At least 2,000 homes and businesses have already been lost and the fires have claimed 24 lives. Australia’s precious wildlife populations have also been suffering.
For the students and their chaperones, side trips into Australia’s outback is definitely out of the question.
“Originally, our director encouraged us to get out of Sydney and go to surrounding cities,” said Smith.
The band will perform outside the Sydney Opera House, but depending on air quality, those plans could change.
“It’s definitely a concern. We’re going to have to get there and figure out if we can perform in front of the Opera House,” said Smith.
For her mother, Cynthia Schreiner Smith, a continent on fire only adds to a parent’s normal worry.
“It’s a story that would have concerned me anyway, not just because my daughter is going down there. I care about the world, care about climate change, but boy, it just really brings it home,” said Schreiner Smith.