Due to the bushfires, at least 17 lives have been claimed in Australia and nearly 1,400 homes have been destroyed.
In the wake of the relentless bushfires in Australia, the United States and Canada are now coming to their aid. According to Good News Network, 138 firefighters from Australia and New Zealand had flown into the United States so they could help battle the blazes that were raging through California in 2018. According to the National Park Service, “the Australian and New Zealand personnel filled critical needs during the peak of the western fire season for mid-level fireline management, heavy equipment, helicopter operations, and structure protection”—and now, the US is repaying the favor.
Yesterday at sunset vs today at 2:40pm in Auckland. Smoke from the Australian bushfires has made it all the way across the ocean. pic.twitter.com/GYMoZ4dgDG— Lang Leav (@langleav) January 5, 2020
This is the first time since 2010 that the U.S. federal government has deployed a team of 100 American firefighters to help with the emergency response crews in Australia, and according to the Los Angeles Times, they are set to deploy several dozen more firefighters this week. According to CBC, this is the first time that Canada has deployed firefighting assistance to Australia, though Australian firefighters were deployed to help out during the devastating British Columbian wildfires in 2017 and 2018.
Australian police say they have arrested two dozen people for intentionally setting bushfires as massive swaths of the country burn https://t.co/HMBsFSUptE— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) January 7, 2020
Australia has been experiencing devastating bushfires since August because of the extended drought combined with hot and dry weather conditions. The areas affected particularly are the states of New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria. Over the last 30 days, the US firefighters have been deployed in several separate teams. Many of them deployed have also been a part of the firefighting teams in California.
“We’re sending a contingent from several federal agencies that reflects decades of fire management experience,” said U.S. Forest Service Fire Director Shawna Legarza. “We face many of the same firefighting challenges in each country. We’ve utilized their expertise in the past and welcome the opportunity to reciprocate.” Due to the bushfires, at least 17 lives have been claimed in Australia and nearly 1,400 homes have been destroyed.
My wife and I are devastated by the climate crisis in Australia including the 500 million animals that have perished. We have started a GoFundMe page, and all proceeds will go to @WIRES_NSW, a fantastic non profit in Australia helping save the wildlife https://t.co/p826gQDZKa— tom ellis (@tomellis17) January 6, 2020
Celebrities have extended their help by donating generous amounts of money. Popstar Pink pledged $500,000 as she was "totally devastated" by the current situation. Pink tweeted links to local state fire services in Australia so that her fans could donate too. "I am totally devastated watching what is happening in Australia right now with the horrific bushfires. I am pledging a donation of $500,000 directly to the local fire services that are battling so hard on the frontlines. My heart goes out to our friends and family in Oz," she wrote.
I am totally devastated watching what is happening in Australia right now with the horrific bushfires. I am pledging a donation of $500,000 directly to the local fire services that are battling so hard on the frontlines. My heart goes out to our friends and family in Oz ❤️ pic.twitter.com/kyjDbhoXpp— P!nk (@Pink) January 4, 2020
Nicole Kidman and husband Keith Urban also donated $500,000 to the Australian fire relief and shared links like Pink did so their fans could help out as well. “I’m so sorry I’m so distracted by what’s happening in Australia.” Nicole Kidman then took to Instagram on Sunday to say, "Our family’s support, thoughts, and prayers are with everyone affected by the fires all over Australia. We are donating $500,000 to the Rural Fire Services who are all doing and giving so much right now." Keith Urban shared the same message on his Instagram handle as well.