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If you somehow haven’t heard that the continent of Australia is literally on fire, this is me telling you that the continent of Australia is literally on fire. And it’s devastating. And it’s still only the beginning of the bushfire season there, meaning the staggering numbers (millions of acres swallowed up by flames, a conservative estimate of half a billion animals killed, at least 23 people dead and many more missing, tens of thousands of residents evacuated, thousands of homes wiped out) will only continue to rise.

As of this morning, 136 fires were actively burning in New South Wales, 69 of which are still not contained. Imagine if Haiti and Belgium were both completely on fire, and that is the size of the wreckage so far. And you’d think there would at least be some peace of mind with a strong leader at the helm of the crisis, but oh wait, the Australian PM is a climate change denier (among other things), and his response has been exceedingly lacking considering the fires began two months ago, and he’s had eight weeks to put together some level of acceptable plan…

So what can we do? Unfortunately we’re pretty far away, so we can’t offer physical assistance. However, we can donate to relief efforts, which is a great and much-needed way to help. 

There are countless efforts being led by Australians, and if you follow friends, bands, celebrities, etc. on social media, they likely have some suggestions for where to send your money, so definitely pay close attention there. Many are doing their own personal fundraisers, one of the biggest being Celeste Barber’s for The Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service & Brigades Donations Fund; you can help it reach its $27,641,483 goal, which it’s just about $1.5M short of at the moment. I’ll mention that organization again below as it’s one of the most overarching, but some additionally good places to send your money are as follows:

To benefit volunteer firefighters, donate to the Rural Fire Service in NSW and/or the Country Fire Service.

To benefit victims and evacuees, donate to the Australian Red Cross.

To benefit wildlife, donate to WIRES.

To benefit rural firefighters in Queensland, donate to the Rural Fire Brigades Association.

To donate to specific brigades in Victoria, donate to the Country Fire Authority.

To benefit both firefighters and those stranded by fires in Victoria, donate to the FoodBank

Even a dollar helps, so if you can manage it, please consider. And whether you can or can’t contribute financially, check in with your Australian friends to see how they’re doing, or just to say you’re thinking about them during this difficult time. 

Featured photo by Bert Knot.