Personnel from the U.S Forest Service in Colorado set to battle blazes.
Australia is on fire during the hottest part of its year, and Colorado firefighters are on their way to help. Eight personnel from the U.S. Forest Service in Colorado are en route to Australia to help contain the devastating wildfires burning out of control and will remain there for about a month to help battle the blazes.
Thrilled to welcome an additional 48 American firefighters to #Melbourne this morning to assist with the ongoing bushfire crisis. They’ll deploy across country Victoria to help our Aussie mates at this challenging time— US Embassy Canberra (@USAembassyinOZ) January 8, 2020
🇺🇸🇦🇺 #USwithAUS #AustraliaFires pic.twitter.com/Wv7SAdif6l
The Colorado contingent is a part of 159 total wildfire and aviation management specialists that the U.S. has sent as of January 7. Another 100 U.S. firefighters are expected to join the original cohort in the near future. The personnel are all part of U.S. government agencies and is part of a reciprocal plan that saw almost 150 Australian firefighters help fight U.S. fires in 2018.
To date, the U.S. has sent 159 wildfire & aviation mgmt personnel to Australia. Personnel include 87 @forestservice, 48 @BLMNational, 10 @NatlParkService, 7 @USIndianAffairs & 7 @USFWS. #AustrailiaFires #USwithAUS #NSWfires pic.twitter.com/PXmFigR75P— National Interagency Fire Center (@NIFCfire) January 7, 2020
The Australian Wildfires are affecting thousands of people, displacing several from their homes, as well as killing a reported 25 (with more missing). Millions of animals are also being affected, and the continent's koala population is among those hit the hardest. Thousands have died since the fires began.
To put it in perspective, more land is burning than an area twice the size of Maryland, or the entire country of Belgium. The fires have been raging since September, and Australia is headed into the hottest part of its summer, giving very little relief to an already devastating situation.
How You Can Help
There are several places you can donate to help those affected by the Australian wildfires.
The Australian Red Cross has set up a donation page to help people who have evacuated. You can donate here.
The Australian Salvation Army has also set up a disaster donation fund. You can donate here.
The NSW Rural Fire Service could also use donations to support the local crews battling the blazes. You can donate here.
The Wires Wildlife Rescue Line also rescues and rehabs animals affected by the fires. You can donate here.