As the American firefighters reached Sydney airport this week to aid Australia’s fight against the raging bushfires they were greeted with cheers and applause.
Their arrival with gear in hand was a warm sight to see for everyone. Shane Fitzsimmons, the commissioner of New South Wales Rural Fire Service, shared a video of the emotional moment on Twitter:
US fire fighters arrived at Sydney Int Airport this week, on their way to assist with fire fighting in Victoria.
Coming through, all gathered gave a spontaneous & lengthy round of applause, reflecting the gratitude & admiration we all have for their generosity. #NSWRFS @NSWRFS pic.twitter.com/5epg5y4qxX
— Shane Fitzsimmons (@RFSCommissioner) January 9, 2020
The U.S. Consulate also shared an image of their arrival on Twitter.
48 U.S. firefighters arriving in Melbourne to lend a hand to the rockstar Aussie crews battling bushfires day & night. They’ll deploy to country Victoria to help our friends, just as they’ve helped us many times. ❤️🇺🇸🇦🇺 #USwithAUS #vicfires #AustraliaFires pic.twitter.com/H4x6eo6BpD
— usconsulatemelbourne (@usconsulatemelb) January 8, 2020
This is the first time since 2010 the United States has sent firefighters to Australia. U.S. officials on Tuesday said they are planning to send at least 100 more of their firefighters. So far 159 fighters are deployed in Australia. It would be the largest ever deployment of U.S. firefighters abroad.
The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, said that 90 firefighters including on-the-ground hand crews left in recent days to fight fires that have scorched an area twice the size of the U.S. state of Maryland.
The destructive bush fires have been causing havoc in Australia for the past couple of weeks. 25 people are reported to be dead with over 2000 homes suffering damage and destruction. The fires are an ecological catastrophe killing billions of animals so far. Many scientists believe the fires could drive many species into extinction.
Along with the U.S., Canada has also sent its firefighters for help. But the fires showing no signs of reduction as of now. Australian authorities are warning for a “mega blaze” as two sets of bush fires are expected to merge at the border of New South Wales and Victoria.