Wildfires have been ravaging Australia for months, but they’ve only recently started getting major coverage in international and American news outlets. Fox News reports that “the wildfires that are ravaging parts of Australia are burning through vegetation under such extreme conditions the blazes are generating enough heat to create their own weather systems, including fire-generated thunderstorms and fire tornadoes.” A Forbes piece postulates that the fires could affect weather elsewhere, and Newsweek reports that the smoke from Australia has traveled to New Zealand, and darkened the skies there. For context, that’s like if the effects of a fire in Boston was felt in Jacksonville.
CBS News reports that it is estimated that more than half a billion wild animals have perished in the flames, and that number is expected to exponentially increase. Entire towns have evacuated to the shores and volunteer firefighters have left their families and careers behind to fight the flames around the clock.
How can you help? Here are a few links.
To help evacuees:
- Donate to the Australian Red Cross which supports thousands of people in evacuation and recovery centers across the country.
- Donate to the Australian Salvation Army, which provides meals and support to evacuees and first responders in multiple locations.
- Donate to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, which helps evacuated families recover. The organization provides food and clothing, helps to cover bills, and donates household items to those whose homes have been destroyed.
To help firefighters:
- Donate to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service. The service has set up specific funds for the families of volunteer firefighters who have been killed while on duty this fire season.
- Donate to Victoria’s firefighting service, Country Fire Authority. The service is also managing locals who want to provide accommodation for people who have been displaced.
- Donate to the Rural Fire Brigades Association to support firefighters in Queensland.
To help wildlife:
- Donate to WIRES, a wildlife rescue nonprofit that rescues and cares for thousands of sick, injured and orphaned native animals.
- Donate to the World Wildlife Fund Australia, which directs its efforts towards koala conservation.
- Donate to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital’s GoFundMe, which has rescued and treated dozens of koalas suffering from severe burns. The hospital is using donations to install automatic drinking stations in burnt areas to help wildlife searching for water and to establish a wild koala breeding program to ensure the survival of the species.