American Firefighters Applauded As They Arrive In Australia To Fight Bushfires

Alfie PowellAlfie Powell in News, World
Published 10.01.20

American firefighters were applauded as they touched down in Sydney, Australia, in order to fight the bushfires that have ravaged the country since November.

Thus far, estimates state that over one billion animals have died as a result, while the human death toll is in the twenties. Far in excess of 2000 homes have been lost to the fires and the number of koalas in the wild has taken a huge hit.

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Chris Dickman, an ecologist at the University of Sydney told The Huffington Post:

The original figure ― the 480 million ― was based on mammals, birds and reptiles for which we do have densities, and that figure now is a little bit out of date. It’s over 800 million given the extent of the fires now ― in New South Wales alone.

If 800 million sounds a lot, it’s not all the animals in the firing line.”

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With that, and while there are some signs that the scorched bush has started to recover in some areas, the fires still rage on, meaning that the crews trying to stop them need help.

That’s why firefighters from America have been sent over to the country, with 100 of them landing in Sydney to help the 159 already there.

New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons, filmed the event that saw the firefighters touch down in Sydney before their journey to Victoria. Upon entering the airport, the workers were met with cheers and applause from locals.

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Fitzsimmons explained:

As they came through the arrival gate, those gathered gave a spontaneous and lengthy round of applause, reflecting the gratitude and admiration we all have for their generosity and assistance.”

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In response to the daunting task they have ahead of them, one firefighter, John Szulc, told ABC News he wasn’t too ‘worried’ about it, saying:

I’m not really worried, I think we’re well trained.

We’ve got to learn from your local people in how we can do business and fit in with your system.”

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The National Interagency Fire Center spokesperson, Carrie Bilbao, spoke about the training the workers had gone through during the run-up to their latest task, explaining that they’ve been briefed on the local wildlife and essentially, what snakes and insects to avoid.

If you want the help with the struggles over in Australia, you can donate to the WWF Australia Bushfire Emergency fund here.

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