As bushfires continue to rage across Australia, various public figures have commented on the devastating damage wrought. The fires have been ongoing for months, placing the country in one of its biggest climate emergencies ever. Densely popular areas across the east coast have been impacted, leaving tens of thousands of people displaced and wildlife under serious threat. As of Friday, 12 million acres have burned, dwarfing the scale of California's deadliest wildfires at 1.8 million acres.
The bushfires show no sign of slowing down any time soon, especially as the country is only one month into summer. The scale of the damage is so vast that the Rural Fire Service indicated even "10,000 firefighters" would not be able to stop the blazes. New South Wales has declared a week-long state of emergency, while the state of Victoria is in the midst of a month-long state of disaster.
Support was shown for those who helped combat the fires, while the very real impact of climate change was also highlighted. "We want to express our deep gratitude to the people in Australia who are fighting these devastating bushfires," Hugh Jackman wrote on Twitter. "Our hearts are with everyone impacted especially those who have lost homes and loves ones. This is an immense tragedy for our home country."
Kim Kardashian gave a straightforward comment: "Climate change is real."
Additionally, Bernie Sanders retweeted a video showing how the sky turned red because of the fires. "I say to those who are delaying action on climate change: Look at the blood-red sky and unbreathable air in Australia because of the raging forest fires," Sanders wrote.
One woman died in Canberra earlier this week as a result of the thick smoke in the city. Just as worrying, the smog has even reached the shores of New Zealand.
Meanwhile on Instagram, Australia's Rebel Wilson showed her support for a zookeeper from Featherdale Syd Wildlife Park who has been helping rescue animals from the bushfires. "I loved cuddling our gorgeous Australian animals," she wrote. "And we gotta work hard to protect them and our environment."
Fellow Australian Naomi Watts also chimed in with a clip she took from her last visit to Bryon, New South Wales. "To get a sense of how beautiful the wildlife regularly sounds... Please turn up the volume," she wrote. "The fires have been truly horrendous. It's so upsetting and worrying... My heart goes out to those who've lost loved ones and homes. Big gratitude to the brave firemen who literally haven't stopped during the holidays."
LaMelo Ball also pledged to donate a month of his NBL salary to victims of the fires.
Wildlife has been impacted heavily by the bushfires, and it has already been predicted that thousands of Koalas have died as a result.
If you're looking to send donations or offer other assistance for those struggling with the fires, there are a variety of options. Donations to groups like the St. Vincent de Paul Society Bushfire Appeal, the Country Fire Authority Victoria, and the Australian Red Cross Disaster Recovery and Relief can go a long way. A GoFundMe for the rebuilding of First Nations Communities, meanwhile, is very close at the time of this writing to nearing its $500,000 goal.