ND native, now Australia resident, speaks on severity of bushfires

Good Day Dakota

Nearly 18 million acres have burned across Australia’s six states.

To put that in perspective, last year’s California wildfires burned about 247,000 acres.

The fires still show no signs of stopping.

Scroll to the bottom of this story for links to legitimate ways to donate and help the people of Australia.

At least 28 people have died and more than 3,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged, according to CNN.

KX News as able to talk to a North Dakota native who has lived in Australia for 25 years now. He says there are more than 250 fires across Australia that are still out of control.

“It’s probably one of the worst bush fire seasons we’ve had.”
Darin McDaniel lives in Perth, Australia – more than 9,000 miles away from his hometown of Beulah, North Dakota.

He’s far from his former home, but close to the devastation that is the Australian bushfires.

“It’s pretty much like the east coast of the U.S. from Maine, pretty much down to Florida, is burning at the moment,” he said.

Last year marks Australia’s hottest and driest on record.

Regions like New South Wales or Victoria have been in drought conditions for at least five years, McDaniel guesses.
“As soon as they get a look at maybe getting rain, you get lightning strikes, which then causes more fires.”

Fires continue to ruthlessly blare, displacing thousands of people and killing millions and millions of animals.

“Forest has been burnt,” McDaniel said. “Roughly one billion animals have perished. They reckon several species, anything from insects to marsupials to mammals has been wiped out, extinct.”

Thousands are without their homes and also their livelihoods. Farmland and livestock are no more.
McDaniel said, “They [farmers] were actually shooting their livestock instead of letting them burn. It’s just more humane.”

As many retreat to refuge centers or volunteer to fight the fires themselves — which many of the firefighters are unpaid volunteers – many others are finally starting to pick up the pieces.

“You have thousands and thousands of people that are homeless and they need food, water, clothing. You think of all those people that lost all of their memories and everything they own other than the clothing they had on their back when they got out.”

So what can we do? North Dakotans, Americans, from the other side of the world?

We can give. We can help organizations like the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, which both play major roles in where and how thousands of Australians will find solace and safety.

McDaniel said there are some fraudulent donation links out there, so please do the appropriate research if looking for where to donate, or click on the donation links below.

Australian Red Cross
Salvation Army Australia
St Vincent de Paul Society
NSW Rural Fire Service

The Bushfire Foundation

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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