Catastrophic bushfires in Australia have claimed the lives of 25 people and millions of animals since September 2019, displacing thousands of families along the way. Widespread drought and an extremely hot summer contributed to what has become the deadliest bushfire season in history.
The size and breadth of these fires is unfathomable. On Sunday, fires the size of South Carolina and Wisconsin were added to the tracking map. In total, over 21 million acres have either burned, or are still burning — and it’s expected this cycle will continue for months until monsoon rains bring relief to the country.
Simply put: People need your help. Woefully underfunded rural fire services are undertaking a heroic effort to stop the fires. Thousands of volunteer firefighters are working tirelessly, risking their lives without pay to try and stop fires from destroying the land they love so much. Displaced families are in desperate need of assistance, both now and in the coming months as they rebuild their lives. Native flora and fauna will be impacted for decades, perhaps forever, and charities need help to ensure species like koalas don’t go extinct as a result of these fires.
This is extremely personal to me. Born in Sydney, with the majority of my family still in Australia, I receive daily updates from my mum on what is happening. My uncle and aunt, who live in the Blue Mountains two hours west of Sydney, are being briefed this week about backburning efforts and the massive firebreak firefighters are hoping will protect nearby properties. My cousin and her three children already evacuated the mountains simply to escape the choking smoke making it difficult to breathe.
Just last weekend, my mother and stepfather were making final preparations to protect their farm and left only three hours before a new fire broke out roughly 15 miles away. Friends who are still in the area are staying to fight or helping relief efforts wherever possible.
Athletes are also doing their part in order to raise awareness of the fires in Australia and making donations to help efforts.
Ben Simmons is organizing a plan with other NBA players to donate to causes.
Liz Cambage has set up a GoFundMe and shared the following video:
Please consider donating to the following charities.
Funds directly supporting the heroes fighting the fires. New South Wales is the state in which Sydney is the capital, and the region most affected by the fire.
The organization is collecting money to help families and individuals displaced at emergency shelters, as well as helping reunite those who have become separated from their loved ones. In the coming months, they will work towards recovery and rebuilding efforts.
The largest wildlife rescue and rehabilitation charity in Australia, WIRES is working directly to care for injured animals as a result of the fire. A volunteer-run charity, WIRES is helping to ensure as many native animals are saved as possible, and received upwards of 20,000 calls for assistance in December alone.
Australia will survive. Australia will endure. But the country will never, ever be the same. Please consider donating if you are able to help fight these horrible fires. If you are unable to donate, please consider sharing these links to spread the word to others who can help.