Firefighters From the U.S., Canada Met With Applause Upon Arrival to Australia As Fires Continue
American and Canadian firefighters were welcomed with cheers at Sydney International Airport this week when they arrived in Australia to help combat the catastrophic bushfires that are burning across the country.
This is the first time that firefighters from the U.S. have accepted missions in Australia since 2010, according to CNN. About 100 firefighters from the U.S. and Canada have arrived to help. Another 140 are expected to arrive in the coming weeks.
A lethal combination of temperatures above 104 degrees Fahrenheit and strong winds, up to 55 miles per hour, are making conditions in Australia particularly dangerous heading into the weekend. Authorities in the state of Victoria urged anyone who was able to leave the state to do so.
"If you can get out, you should get out, you shouldn't be in the remote and forested parts of our State," Andrew Crisp, Victoria’s emergency management commissioner, said according to NBC News. The emergency warning affects more than 240,000 people in the state of Victoria alone.
A second “mega-blaze” has formed in the state of New South Wales that formed when three smaller fires joined together. It now covers an area of about 640,00 hectares, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Four firefighters were injured in New South Wales on Friday, where 10 regions have enacted total fire bans.
At least 27 people have been killed and more than 25.5 million acres of land burned this fire season in Australia.
Thousands of people joined climate protests in nine cities across Australia on Friday, according to The Washington Post. Some protestors are calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, accusing the administration of inadequate response to the bush fires.