The scenes from Australia, where out-of-control brush fires have been raging, are like visions of hell. The sky is stained red and smoke chokes the air while injured and confused koalas wander the land. At least 24 people have died in the horrific fires, which are predicted to burn for weeks, alongside untold environmental damage and over a billion animals.
It’s a nightmare scenario and it’s easy to feel helpless when observing it from afar.
Now, in the spirit of solidarity, a team of 20 firefighters from California—a state that knows a thing or two about wildfires—has shipped out to Australia to help combat the blaze.
View this post on Instagram
According to CNN, the firemen are part of the Angeles National Forest crew, know as the “Hot Shots,” and are believed to be the first hands-on aid the U.S. has sent after previously sending organizational support.
The firefighters are all volunteers and veterans in the art of battling fires, each with at least 5 to 10 years of experience.
According to ABC 7 the firefighters will be staying in Australia for at least 30 days and are eager to do what they can to help fight the formidable blaze, which has burned some 12 million acres already.
As one of the firefighters, Justine Gude, told ABC 7:
“You watch the news or you read these stories about these terrible things that are happening and you always wanna know how can I help or what can I do. I’m in a unique position where I can actually do something and I actually can help, so who wouldn’t jump at that opportunity. I’m super excited.”
The devastating fires, Australia’s worst in decades, are a reminder of the very real effects of climate change and have captured the attention of the world. Here’s hoping the Hot Shots will be able to lend effective help in fighting the blaze.