As the devastating wildfires continue to rage across Australia, Juvare is continuing to offer support to firefighters, emergency responders, and agencies working across the country through our Asia-Pacific office and staff based in Wellington, New Zealand. Many are coordinating their response efforts using Juvare technologies such as WebEOC.
A deadly combination of drought conditions, record high temperatures, and high winds have exacerbated Australia’s typical fire season, causing the worst fire season in 20 years. In fact, 2019 was the country’s hottest and driest year ever recorded, according to government records.
Already, the fires have burned over 17 million acres, destroyed more than 2,000 homes, and killed 25 people, including three firefighters. Several thousand residents and tourists have been evacuated, and hundreds of thousands of animals have been killed or displaced.
To illustrate the massive extent of the area affected, California wildfires burned about 247,000 acres in 2019 and 1 million acres in 2018.
Australian federal and state agencies have been fighting the fires since at least September.
In the state of New South Wales – one of the hardest hit states – there are currently over 2,000 firefighters working the fires. More personnel on the way from other countries including New Zealand, the United States, and Canada, according to CNN. The military has also been called in to assist with fighting fires, as well as performing search and rescue operations and evacuations.
The threat of the fires is truly overwhelming in terms of loss of life and property, as well as the resources that continue to be committed to trying to control fires occurring on a massive scale.
For many of us who live outside of Australia, it may seem like a tragic, helpless situation but there are in fact, lots of ways to directly help response efforts.
Local firefighters from the NSW Rural Fire Service, when asked how the public can help suggested “there are a number of ways you can help” but “the best way is to donate money.”
Here is a list of their suggested organizations for donations, taken directly from their website.
There are a number of funds which have been established to support those affected by the bush fires, including:
- Australian Red Cross Disaster Recovery and Relief
- Salvation Army Disaster Appeal
- St Vincent de Paul Society Bushfire Appeal (NSW)
Supporting the volunteers
Many people are choosing to show support to our volunteers. While brigades are provided equipment to protect the community, donations assist them deliver additional services to the community.
There’s a wide range of community groups which are providing support to fire affected areas, including: