In mid-November, the NSW Rural Fire Service declared fire danger to be “catastrophic”, with conditions being worse than originally forecast, extending across most of the State including the Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter, and Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions. They've also indicated there are worse days to come—most recently a seriously toxic blanket of smoke across Sydney, a "mega-fire" the size of Greater Sydney, fires too large to put out and fire danger for wetter regions not usually affected by bushfire season.
Inner-city Sydney has been blanketed in smoke for days, with each day ending in an awe-inducing, tangerine-hued apocalyptic-looking sunset, and a dusting of pale white ash falling from the sky. For a lot of us, the summer ahead will mean more smokey sunsets and hot days in the office (temps hitting the mid-30s and higher, and hot, gusty winds to match).
For others, the terrifying front of this year’s unprecedented bushfire season is going to be a lot closer to home—or already has been. For anyone living around, in and near our State’s beautiful bushland, this season you will need to have a plan and be on high alert. If that’s you, we highly recommend downloading the RFS’s incredible Fires Near Me app on your smartphone (the web version is here). You’ll be sent notifications about changing conditions, new fires, road closures and RFS emergency instructions. If you’re worried about loved ones, you can set up locations to watch for detailed information.
Across the internet, images and videos of smoke billowing high above beautiful coastlines and the Blue Mountains, towers of fiery red tearing through trees down to sandy beaches and devastated townships dusted in ash all feel much more frightening than previous bushfire spells we know—because they are. Climate change has meant a much more ferocious, terrifying season. More than 600 homes have been destroyed, leaving many families displaced moving into the holiday season. Animals are flooding into shelters, including (heart-achingly) NSW’s shrinking koala population.
To help out those affected by the NSW bushfires, including our native animals, pets and livestock, we’ve compiled a list of charities and organisations you can donate to.
- NSW Rural Fire Service
- Foundation For National Parks And Wildlife Emergency Appeal
- WIRES Bushfire Emergency Appeal
- Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery
- Salvation Army Bushfire Disaster Appeal
- RSPCA Bushfire Appeal
- Northern NSW Vinnies Bushfire Appeal
- Queensland Government GIVIT Bushfire Appeal (donate to NSW Fires 2019)
- NSW Mid Coast Bushfire Relief Go Fund Me
- Wytabilla Community Go Fund Me
- Rainbow Flat And Surrounds Go Fund Me
- The Rescue Collective
- Port Macquarie Koala Hospital
- Koalas In Care
- Bottles For The Bush
- Fire Evacuation Pet Assistance NSW
- Taronga's Emergency Koala Appeal
- WWF Australia Bushfire And Koala Appeal
For more information from the RFS, check here.
Image credit: Getty