Here in Australia, we're no strangers to bush fires- they've been a part of our natural landscape for millions of years. Our country's flora and fauna are largely built to spring back from these natural fires and over the past 40,000 years, Indigenous people have skilfully managed these fires to sustain biodiversity.
So what's changed?
Quite simply, our planet is getting hotter, drier and windier. Our warming climate is becoming an environment that fosters fires and is accelerating the quantity and overall severity of these fires. The length of the fire weather season globally, has increased by almost 19% in the past 30 years and that figure is set to keep climbing. Climate change is making a bad thing much, much worse.
Fires are continuing to blaze across NSW and QLD with no show of letting up in what could be the most dangerous bushfire week in Australia's history. You can follow the live updates here.
Unfortunately, "thoughts and prayers" (Cheers, ScoMo) aren't quite cutting it, so here are some ways you can lend a hand to those directly affected as well as our local heroes battling the blazes across the country.
Relief funds across both NSW and QLD have encouraged financial donations over physical donations at this stage.
Support the brave Aussies, both local and professionals, battling the fires firsthand
Providing meals to evacuees and frontline responders, and will continue to provide whatever support is needed as the situation develops
Providing assistance of basic necessities during these emergencies and then helping those in need recover in the aftermath
Providing emotional and psychological first aid to vulnerable people in bushfire affected communities
Helping those affected in the bushfires in a multitude of ways, including feeding, clothing and supporting victims in need during and following the crises
Provide relief for individuals who have lost their homes and belongings in the fires
The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital are conducting search and rescue exercises to treat and rehabilitate surviving koalas