Australia is fighting an unprecedented bushfire season.
If you’re keyed into the news and social media, you will already know that Australia is burning and its animals are dying. At least 8.4 million hectares of Australian bushland have been burned so far, the majority of which have been in New South Wales alone. Fuelled by record temperatures and widespread drought, the staggering size and ferociousness of the fires have sent the country reeling.
And we’re only in the middle of the Australian summer.
Filmed on New Year’s Eve, at Nowra Hill, this video shows how Southerly wind changes pack a punch. This fire was heavily impacting on a telecommunications tower but with quick work by fire crews, the infrastructure was protected.#PreparedForAnything #ProtectTheIrreplaceable pic.twitter.com/5v2tOQ1VVj
— Fire and Rescue NSW (@FRNSW) January 6, 2020
At least 25 people and half a billion animals have lost their lives. Thousands of homes and livelihood destroyed. Officials are warning that temperatures are likely to soar amid fears that blazes in multiple states may merge to create heightened dangers and more devastation to lives and homes.
In addition to the fires, smoke has become another disaster. Australia’s capital recorded the worst pollution it’s ever seen on January 1st. The air quality index indicated 23 times higher than what is normally considered “hazardous.”
This is Anzac Parade in Canberra. Lake Burley Griffin should be somewhere in there. Even if there were fireworks tonight you wouldn’t be able to see anything pic.twitter.com/ODLnRC1wQG
— Andrew Brown (@AndrewBrownAU) December 31, 2019
How Can We Help?
A number of organisations and volunteer services are aiding in the firefighting and recovery efforts for affected communities. Whether you want to help the firefighting organisations, wildlife or just provide somewhere to sleep, you can find a ton of handy links and information below:
Direct to firefighting efforts
- The NSW Rural Fire Service has a donation page to support the firefighting efforts in New South Wales
- The Country Fire Authority is the state of Victoria’s rural firefighting service and you can donate directly here.
- The Country Fire Service in South Australia also takes direct donations.
- To help support firefighters in the state of Queensland, you can donate to the Rural Fire Brigades Association via their webpage.
Relief and support efforts
- Australia’s Red Cross Disaster relief and recovery fund helps support evacuation centres and recovery programs for the affected communities.
- A GoFundMe page has been set up as a relief fund for First Nations communities to offer “culturally sensitive, specific direct support to some of those communities with critical costs to cover expenses.”
- The Victorian Bushfire Appeal is where state premier Daniel Andrews is suggesting to donate. The appeal directs money to communities in need, giving directly to those affected by the fires.
- Kangaroo Island Mayoral Relief and Recovery Bushfire Fund has also set up bank accounts to receive funds.
- Foodbank Australia is taking donations to help people in need during the crisis. You can donate at its website to the Victorian relief effort, which helps get relief for communities cut off from power and food.
- Givit is a not-for-profit organisation that cares for those in need by letting you donate goods it then passes on. It accepts items or money at its donation page.
- The St Vincent de Paul society is helping people on the ground in rebuilding, providing food and clothing and emotional support. It has a donation page here.
- Longer term support for communities affected by the fires will be necessary once the fires settle and that’s where the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal comes in. You can donate to the FRRR here.
- The Salvation Army has a disaster appeal donations page set up to deliver support to local communities affected by the blazes.
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- GlobalGiving has opened an Australian Wildfire Relief fund that will provide relief and support for those affected by the fires. You can donate at their website.
- Direct Relief has been helping with the effort to get particulate-filtering masks across to Australia. You can donate to their efforts, which support disaster relief across the world, here.
- The RSPCA bushfire appeal is used to protect the pets, livestock and wildlife affected by bushfires, helping evacuate animals from disaster zones. Items like livestock pellets and possum boxes are also incredibly handy.
- The Australian counterpart of the World Wildlife Fund accepts donations to help support conservation activities, particularly related to koalas. Money can help provide emergency care during bushfires.
- Zoos Victoria have established a Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund which funds emergency vet assistance and “scientific intervention.” You can donate to the fund here and it seems to accept PayPal and credit cards.
- The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has already raised in excess of $2 million to help search for and protect the koalas in the region. You can donate at its GoFundMe page.
- The Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park was hit hard by the fires in South Australia. It’s asking for donations to help with vet costs, koala milk and extra enclosures on its GoFundMe page.
- Wires is an Australia wildlife rescue organisation with a myriad ways to help Australia’s native fauna. Donations can be made through its website.
- The Animal Rescue Collective is another organisation providing support for wildlife. Lots of information and how to donate on their Facebook page.
- Adelaide & Hills Koala Rescue are the largest group of experienced and dedicated Volunteer Koala Carers and Rescuers in South Australia. They have a GoFundMe page running to care for bushfire koala victims.
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- Airbnb has established an emergency housing site for those displaced by the bushfires via its Open Homes initiative. You can book free accommodation in certain areas of New South Wales and Victoria.
- Similarly, Find A Bed, established by Australian writer Erin Riley, allows people to offer up a bed or locate a bed in NSW, Victoria and South Australia. It currently has 900 registered volunteers.
Fundraising and auctions
- Actor and comedian Celeste Barber is running a fundraiser for the Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service and Brigades donations fund. You can donate on the fundraiser’s Facebook page.
- Comedian Nick Kroll and Aussie actor Joel Edgerton have started the hashtag #FightFireWithaFiver. They’re encouraging donations to the NSW RFS of $5.
- Stranger Things actor Dacre Montgomery established his own GoFundMe on behalf of the Australian Red Cross. The link to the GoFundMe is here.
- A useful resource if you want to buy products from rural communities is Australia’s Buy From The Bush. It highlights creators and artists from regional Australia you can buy from as they face drought and now bushfire.
- The No Sign of Rain print, by renowned Australian artist BossLogic, can be bought from the online store with 100% of proceeds going to the Red Cross.
- The Make It Rain fundraiser is offering up unique online auction prizes from famous Australian musicians. A concert will be held on Jan. 8 and Jan. 9 in Byron Bay.
— Dacre Montgomery (@dacremontgomery) January 4, 2020
Respiratory equipment and where to buy P2 masks
- In many places across the country, smoke from the fires is having a negative impact on health. A great resource for where to buy P2 masks is Aussie website Finder. Similarly, Lifehacker Australia has a handy guide for where to buy.
- Sign a Change.org petition calling on the NSW Government to provide adequate respiratory equipment to firefighters to protect against harmful smoke.
Other things you can do
- Raise awareness! You can tweet and share and post this story — and dozens of others — all across the web. More eyeballs = more help.
- Run your online searches through Ecosia, which uses profits to plant trees where they’re needed most. Trees help reduce the carbon dioxide load. It can be added to Chrome.
- If you’re in Australia, do leave a bowl of water out for passing thirsty animals. Every small action counts.
This is Mallacoota in Australia
The entire city is surrounded by flames
This is what the world will look like if we don’t tackle climate change pic.twitter.com/JarYiSjVet
— Edward Hardy (@EdwardTHardy) January 2, 2020
The Luxe Nomad Cares
The Luxe Nomad has long been an advocate for sustainable living and travel. Having signed the Komitmen and ended the use of single-use plastics in our villas, we are constantly striving to find ways to better the world. Just like the Amazon Rainforest, we will not turn a blind eye to what’s happening in Australia.
For the month of January, The Luxe Nomad will donate US$10 for every booking received to the WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue Organisation. The organisation is currently directing donations received to the rescue and care of Australian animals affected by the bushfires.