An estimated 8.4 million hectares of land has been burned and a total of 278 bushfires are still burning across Australia – 136 in NSW, 31 in Victoria, 23 in South Australia, 37 in Queensland, 26 in West Australia, 24 in Tasmania and one in the Northern Territory.

By Ian Horswill


Posted on January 7, 2020

Australian comedian, writer and actor Celeste Barber’s fundraiser for The Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service & Brigades Donations Fund, to support the fight against bushfires devastating Australia, is the largest money-raising campaign in the history of Facebook.

In four days 37-year-old Celeste Barber, who now has 6.6 million followers on Instagram who love her parodies of female celebrities, has raised A$41,696,658 in five days – and counting.

Celeste Barber, a married mother of one, appeared emotional and sleep-deprived in a series of videos shared on her Instagram story and was on the verge of tears as the enormity of what she had achieved sunk in.

“I think it’s just hit me, it’s so much money …. it’s incredible,” said Barber.

fire, Austeralia

Facebook’s previous highest fundraiser was Charlotte and Dave Willner in the US, who raised money for RAICES (The Refugee and Immigrant Centre for Education and Legal Services) in Texas. The fundraiser was created in June 2018 and raised $US20.77 million from more than 530,000 people.

Celeste Barber‘s “Please help anyway you can. This is terrifying” appeal has seen 1,060,348 people donate.

Australian billionaire James Packer has announced he will donate A$5 million, split between the Packer family foundation and Crown Resort Foundation. It will be fast tracked for immediate relief and be paid this week. Last November, Packer pledged A$1 million over five years to the NSW Rural Fire Service and said this money also will be made available this week.

“Australians are digging deep to support each other in these tough times, it’s truly inspiring,” he told News Corp Australia.

“My family and Crown are eager to do more and the best way we can help, is to significantly increase our donation. We hope these funds play a small part in helping our fire fighters, and easing the suffering of people who have lost their homes and the poor wildlife caught up in the blaze. We just want to do our bit.”

Fire

Australian actor Chris Hemsworth today said on Instagram that he and his family are donating A$1 million to the fight against the fires.

“Every penny counts so whatever you can muster up is greatly appreciated. In my bio I’ve added links to support the fire fighters, organisations and charities who are working flat out to provide support and relief during this devastating and challenging time,” Hemsworth wrote.

“Beyond appreciative to everyone around the world for their well wishes and donations. It really does make a difference, so dig deep! Love ya.”

Australian singer Kylie Minogue said along with sister Danii and her family they have donated A$500,000 to bushfire relief efforts.

Minogue took to Instagram to write about the devastating fires.

“Last year I had the incredible opportunity of visiting some of the many beautiful places in my homeland for the first time,” she shared. “Returning home to such devastation throughout much of the country is heartbreaking.”

The devastation the bushfires have brought Australia and are continuing to do so was raised constantly during the Golden Globes awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who won the Golden Globe for best performance by an actress in a television series, musical or comedy, for her role in her situation comedy series Fleabag, announced she will sell the Ralph & Russo suit she wore at the event to raise money to fight the Australian fires.

The 34-year-old British actress said she plans to auction “one of the most extraordinary things I’ve ever worn” backstage at the awards ceremony.

An estimated 8.4 million hectares of land, three times the size of the Netherlands, has burned across Australia since September. More than 1930 homes have been destroyed, along with more than 3000 sheds, facilities and outhouses so far.

A total of 278 bushfires are still burning across the country – 136 in NSW, 31 in Victoria, 23 in South Australia, 37 in Queensland, 26 in West Australia, 24 in Tasmania and one in the Northern Territory.

More than 4500 firefighters and support personnel are deployed to help nationwide, including 145 personnel from the US and Canada. The Australian Government has called up 3000 reserve forces of the Australian Defence Force to help fight the fires.

The HMAS Adelaide – one of two Canberra-class landing helicopter dock ships of the Royal Australian Navy – has also been deployed to support the efforts of HMAS Choules and MV Sycamore and additional Chinook helicopters, C-17 Globemasters, C-130 Hercules and C-27 Spartans. An extra fleet of water bombing planes for the states and territories has been leased and deployed in addition.

Twenty people have died in the fires that have swept through NSW alone, taking the national death toll to 26.