The Australian Bush Fires - so what are the facts?
24 people have been killed so far in the bush fires - including 3 volunteer firefighters, and sadly, that number is expected to rise.
More than 6.3 million hectares of forest, bush, parks, and properties have been burned.
1 billion animals are thought to be killed and with temperatures reaching over 40 celsius there is little sign of the fires retreating anytime soon.
The blazes made breathing the air in Sydney as bad as smoking 37 cigarettes in a day!
So how long have the fires been burning for?
The fires have been burning since September 2019. The intensity and number of fires have been increasing due to the dry, tinder conditions, combined with strong winds. A number of towns are being evacuated and many people have fleed their properties.
Where are they located?
The state hit worst is New South Wales (NSW), where the fires have burned almost five million hectares, and destroyed more than 1,300 houses, forcing thousands to seek shelter and many have become homeless.
Other states have also been affected too, in Victoria, more than 800,000 hectares have been burned and destroying around 43 homes in East Gippsland.
In Western Australia, about 400 kilometres south-east of Perth, fires tore through more than 40,000 hectares of land.
What about the Maritime scene?
There are countless stories of boat owners rescuing people and taking them out to sea. One of the worst-hit areas is a coastal town called 'Mallacoota', which is over 500km east of Melbourne.
The fire made a turn for the worse and about 4000 people were trapped on a beach in Mallacoota, taking to the water for shelter. Campers were throwing their BBQ gas cylinders into the sea as the fire approached, and locals reported they could quite clearly hear exploding as a fire sweeps through the town and cylinders, tanks and other items exploded in the heat.
If you'd like to make a donation to help, here's how:
Below is a list of Organisations that are assisting and where you can donate.
If you're in a position to help during this time of need, we strongly encourage you to do so!
- The Australian Red Cross is accepting donations to its Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund, which has helped to send 1,285 staff members and volunteers to communities affected by the fires and to provide support to displaced people sheltering in more than 69 evacuation and recovery centres. Click here.
- GIVIT is an Australian organization that matches donated goods with items that are specifically requested by victims of the fires. Click here.
- The Salvation Army advises donors to send money instead of goods because of the logistical difficulties of storing and distributing goods in areas affected by disasters. Click here.
- NSW Rural Fire Service - Donations are directed to emergency efforts and nonemergency community work. Click here.
- The RSPCA NSW. Make a difference in an animals life today! Click here.