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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/world/world-regions/australia

Australian wildfires prompt $11G fine for tossing lit cigarette from vehicle

Drivers in Australia caught tossing a lit cigarette from their vehicles can now face a fine of up to $11,000.

The penalty took effect on Friday in New South Wales (NSW), according to a press release from the local government. It comes as devastating wildfires continue to severely impact the region.

“If a motorist commits the offence during a total fire ban, the penalty will double to 10 demerit points and a fine of up to $11,000,” the release said.

MASSACHUSETTS BOY, 6 RAISES OVER $230G FOR AUSTRALIA WILDFIRE RELIEF BY MAKING, SELLING LITTLE CLAY KOALAS.

As of Sunday, 69 fires continue to burn in the region which has claimed the lives of at least 21 people, according to the Guardian.

Westlake Legal Group australia4 Australian wildfires prompt $11G fine for tossing lit cigarette from vehicle fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world fox news fnc/world fnc David Aaro article 6c9ecfea-b4bb-531b-b9fc-d562938ade0a

In this image dated Dec. 30, 2019, and provided by NSW Rural Fire Service via their twitter account, firefighters are seen as they try to protect homes around Charmhaven, New South Wales.  (Twitter@NSWRFS via AP)

Over a billion animals have reportedly been killed across the county.

Westlake Legal Group Operation-Rock-Wallaby-1 Australian wildfires prompt $11G fine for tossing lit cigarette from vehicle fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world fox news fnc/world fnc David Aaro article 6c9ecfea-b4bb-531b-b9fc-d562938ade0a

A wallaby eats a carrot after NSW’s National Parks and Wildlife Service staff air-dropped them in bushfire-stricken areas around Wollemi and Yengo National Parks, New South Wales, Australia January 11, 2020. Picture taken January 11, 2020. NSW DPIE Environment, Energy and Science/Handout via REUTERS 

The hefty fine will be imposed during a total fire ban, described as days when fires “are likely to spread rapidly and could be difficult to control,” according to the County Fire Authority (CFA).

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2018, the $11,000 penalty is nearly 1/5 of the yearly median U.S. household income.

Passengers will also be fined $660 if they’re caught tossing butts onto the roadway — which will double to $1,320 during a total fire ban, the release said. In 2019, over 200 people were caught tossing cigarettes out of their cars in NSW.

CLIMATE CHANGE OR POOR POLICY? AS AUSTRALIA’S WILDFIRES SEE SOME RELIEF, BLAME GAME ASCENDS

NSW Rural Fire Service Association President Brian McDonough said he was happy with the government’s decision.

“This reckless behaviour puts the safety of firefighting volunteers at risk,” McDonough said, according to the release. “I hope this move makes people think very carefully about the consequences of their actions next time they go to discard a lit cigarette.”

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Drivers will also be penalized five demerit points, which doubles during a total fire ban. The release added that it’s “the first time a demerit point penalty has been imposed on this type of offense.”

Westlake Legal Group cig-car Australian wildfires prompt $11G fine for tossing lit cigarette from vehicle fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world fox news fnc/world fnc David Aaro article 6c9ecfea-b4bb-531b-b9fc-d562938ade0a   Westlake Legal Group cig-car Australian wildfires prompt $11G fine for tossing lit cigarette from vehicle fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world fox news fnc/world fnc David Aaro article 6c9ecfea-b4bb-531b-b9fc-d562938ade0a

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‘Almost apocalyptic’: American firefighters battle Aussie wildfires

Westlake Legal Group Anna-Kooiman-AUS-firefighters-FOX-2 'Almost apocalyptic': American firefighters battle Aussie wildfires Julia Musto fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/tech/topics/us-army fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 681c1219-9687-51c3-ba93-170325622579

Firefighters from the U.S. are making a difference combating the massive bush fires ravaging Australia, former “Fox & Friends Weekend” host Anna Kooiman said Thursday.

Appearing on “Fox & Friends” with hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, and Brian Kilmeade, Kooiman reported that while much-needed rain is pouring down on Australia, firefighters still warn that the dousing is not enough to reverse the damage.

The fires, fueled by drought and the country’s hottest and driest year on record, have been raging since September, months earlier than is typical for Australia’s annual wildfire season. So far, the blazes have killed 28 people and nearly half a billion animals, destroyed 2,000 homes, and scorched an area of more than 25.5 million acres — roughly the size of South Korea.

AUSTRALIA WILDFIRE AREAS MAY SEE THUNDERSTORMS, HEAVY RAIN AS SMOKE IMPACTS AUSTRALIAN OPEN

According to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, more than 100 U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Department of the Interior wildfire personnel have deployed to assist with ongoing fire suppression efforts, joining 159 who were already in Australia.

The bush fires mark the largest-ever deployment of American firefighters abroad and harken back to 2018 when more than 140 wildfire personnel came from Australia and New Zealand to help douse wildfires in Northern California.

“Balmoral [in New South Wales] was almost apocalyptic. The smoke was really thick. It was like being in a dream,” National Smokejumper Manager for the U.S. National Forest Service Roger Staats told Kooiman. “You never expect a house across from a fire station to burn down because you run out of water. That’s what happened.”

“It’s just a massive wall of fire,” said U.S. Army veteran and freelance firefighting aviator Alain Brackmort, who pilots one of the more than 100 waterbombing aircraft used on a daily basis in the state of New South Wales alone.

“I represent the U.S. and it’s a good feeling to know that we’re here and we can come here and support the Australians,” he said.

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New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told Kooiman that to have the “generosity coming from overseas and bolstering our numbers, bringing in all that extra expertise” is genuinely appreciated.”

“What it really shows is that firefighters across the globe all do the same thing,” Staat remarked. “We’re all in this together.”

Fox News’ Greg Norman, Travis Fedschun, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Anna-Kooiman-AUS-firefighters-FOX-2 'Almost apocalyptic': American firefighters battle Aussie wildfires Julia Musto fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/tech/topics/us-army fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 681c1219-9687-51c3-ba93-170325622579   Westlake Legal Group Anna-Kooiman-AUS-firefighters-FOX-2 'Almost apocalyptic': American firefighters battle Aussie wildfires Julia Musto fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/tech/topics/us-army fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 681c1219-9687-51c3-ba93-170325622579

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Australia wildfire areas may see thunderstorms, heavy rain as smoke impacts Australian Open

After weeks of devastating wildfires that have scorched Australia, hard-hit communities are finally about to see some relief.

Forecasters said communities in the New South Wales and Victoria states, where the fires have been particularly devastating, may see heavy rain and thunderstorms from Thursday into the weekend.

“Hopefully some of this heavy rainfall will fall over fire sites and help control or even extinguish fires,” Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Sarah Scully said Wednesday. “But it’s a bit of a double-edged sword because heavy rainfall and gusty thunderstorms bring the potential for flash flooding, particularly in the burnt-out areas of NSW and Victoria which are now vulnerable to landslips and trees coming down.”

NEWS CORP ANNOUNCES MAJOR DONATION FOR AUSTRALIAN BUSHFIRE RELIEF

Forecasters said thunderstorms may bring between one and three inches of rain to eastern Australia, not enough to end the drought but at least douse some of the flames from blazes still burning.

Heavier amounts may also fall in areas southwest of Sydney, Australia’s 7News reported.

There are concerns the rain will wash harmful ash into waterways that feed into the reservoirs, potentially contaminating the drinking water for millions.

Westlake Legal Group AusSmoke_4 Australia wildfire areas may see thunderstorms, heavy rain as smoke impacts Australian Open Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox-news/weather fox-news/sports/tennis/australian-open fox-news/sports/tennis fox news fnc/world fnc article 3346b288-3998-58c7-85bc-f886822e8362

In this Dec. 30, 2019, photo provided by Siobhan Threlfall, a fire approaches the village of Nerrigundah, Australia. The tiny village has been among the hardest hit by Australia’s devastating wildfires. (AP Photo/Siobhan Threlfall)

NSW said it is preparing to limit potential impacts on the water quality by placing silt curtains and booms to prevent ash and other debris from getting into Sydney’s water system.

Even as officials have said the rain this week won’t be intense enough to wash enough debris into waterways, experts have pointed to the scope of burn areas as to why contamination needs to be a concern in the months going forward.

Westlake Legal Group AusSmoke_3 Australia wildfire areas may see thunderstorms, heavy rain as smoke impacts Australian Open Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox-news/weather fox-news/sports/tennis/australian-open fox-news/sports/tennis fox news fnc/world fnc article 3346b288-3998-58c7-85bc-f886822e8362

Properties at Nerrigundah, Australia, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, are damaged and destroyed after a wildfire ripped through the town on New Year’s Eve. (AP Photo/Sam McNeil)

“There are tons of ash in that catchment now,” Stuart Khan, a professor at the University of New South Wales who specializes in water quality and treatment, told The Wall Street Journal. “We can’t expect that we can contain all of it.”

AS AUSTRALIA FIRES RAGE, CREWS AIRDROP VEGETABLES TO FEED STARVING ANIMALS

The fires, fueled by drought and the country’s hottest and driest year on record, have been raging since September, months earlier than is typical for Australia’s annual wildfire season. So far, the blazes have killed 28 people, destroyed 2,000 homes and scorched an area of over 25.5 million acres, roughly the size of South Korea.

Recent weather patterns have caused smoke to shroud Melbourne, impacting the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Wednesday, as smoke and hazy conditions at Melbourne caused the start of play to be delayed by two hours.

Westlake Legal Group AusSmoke_2 Australia wildfire areas may see thunderstorms, heavy rain as smoke impacts Australian Open Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox-news/weather fox-news/sports/tennis/australian-open fox-news/sports/tennis fox news fnc/world fnc article 3346b288-3998-58c7-85bc-f886822e8362

Properties at Nerrigundah, Australia, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, are damaged and destroyed after a wildfire ripped through the town on New Year’s Eve. (AP Photo/Sam McNeil)

Organizers were criticized for allowing qualifying matches to proceed as players dealt with smoke and hazy conditions.

A number of players complained, including Bernard Tomic, who sought medical treatment during his first-round loss when he struggled to breathe. Dalila Jakupovic feared she would pass out before retiring from her match when she collapsed to her knees with a coughing spell, according to The Associated Press.

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Canadian qualifier Brayden Schnur was particularly critical of officials after his first-round win over Sebastian Ofner, which took more than two hours in the hazy conditions that blanketed Melbourne Park on Wednesday.

Westlake Legal Group AusSmoke_1 Australia wildfire areas may see thunderstorms, heavy rain as smoke impacts Australian Open Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox-news/weather fox-news/sports/tennis/australian-open fox-news/sports/tennis fox news fnc/world fnc article 3346b288-3998-58c7-85bc-f886822e8362

In this Jan. 2, 2020, file photo, pedestrians wear masks as smoke shrouds the Australian capital of Canberra, Australia. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

“You feel super dryness in your throat,” he said. “That’s 100 percent not normal and players who have asthma are at a huge disadvantage right now.”

Schnur, who described as like smoking a cigarette, said that top players such as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal should step up and protest against playing in such poor conditions.

Organizers delayed play on Wednesday but the air quality index when the players took to court was still graded as “unhealthy” because of the smoke from the bush fires in Victoria. The Australian Open begins Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AusSmoke_4 Australia wildfire areas may see thunderstorms, heavy rain as smoke impacts Australian Open Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox-news/weather fox-news/sports/tennis/australian-open fox-news/sports/tennis fox news fnc/world fnc article 3346b288-3998-58c7-85bc-f886822e8362   Westlake Legal Group AusSmoke_4 Australia wildfire areas may see thunderstorms, heavy rain as smoke impacts Australian Open Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox-news/weather fox-news/sports/tennis/australian-open fox-news/sports/tennis fox news fnc/world fnc article 3346b288-3998-58c7-85bc-f886822e8362

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News Corp announces major donation for Australian bushfire relief

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6121913459001_6121914244001-vs News Corp announces major donation for Australian bushfire relief Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox news fnc/world fnc f945c879-e7c8-5607-9049-8aa023a6cc33 article

News Corp on Monday announced a major donation for bushfire relief in Australia as the country copes with the growing disaster.

The total pledge: 5 million Australian dollars, the equivalent of roughly $3.5 million U.S. dollars.

“It is clear that confronting the bushfire disaster in Australia requires both an immediate response and an ongoing investment in rebuilding the lives and livelihoods of those most affected by the fires across the country,” News Corp Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch said. “As a company with roots in Australia and an abiding commitment to its people and communities, we are determined to help, both in this time of great need, and well into the future, as the hard work of restoration continues.”

The new donation is in addition to separate commitments from the company and its employees, including a separate pledge of 2 million Australian dollars ($1.4 million U.S. dollars) from Rupert and Jerry Murdoch.

AUSTRALIA’S FIRES HAVE KILLED OR IMPERILED 1 BILLION ANIMALS, EXPERT WARNS

Some of the News Corp contributions will go to organizations aiding local firefighters and providing emergency services.

Rupert Murdoch is also the chairman of Fox Corporation, the parent company of Fox News.

Two massive bushfires in southeastern Australia recently merged into one gigantic megafire measuring nearly 1.5 million acres, NPR reported.

AUSTRALIA’S KANGAROO ISLAND SHOWS BURN SCARS IN STUNNING NASA IMAGE

In total, more than 130 bushfires have claimed the lives of at least 28 people in a crisis that has destroyed more than 2,000 homes and scorched an area larger than the U.S. state of Indiana since September. Four of the casualties have been firefighters.

While the fire threat is most acute in rural communities, wildfire smoke that has choked some of Australia’s largest cities is a reminder to many urban Australians of the unfolding disaster.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Other parts of the News Corp funds will go toward future long-term restoration of communities affected by the fires.

“Our journalists and editors around Australia have done an extraordinary job of tracking the tragic fires and their profound impact on individuals, communities and the environment,” said News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson. “Our company also has an important role to play in supporting our firefighters and the long-term renewal of communities hardest hit by the tragedy. The funds allocated will be targeted at ensuring those communities and their people have material support as they begin the task of rebuilding after suffering unfathomable losses.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6121913459001_6121914244001-vs News Corp announces major donation for Australian bushfire relief Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox news fnc/world fnc f945c879-e7c8-5607-9049-8aa023a6cc33 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6121913459001_6121914244001-vs News Corp announces major donation for Australian bushfire relief Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox news fnc/world fnc f945c879-e7c8-5607-9049-8aa023a6cc33 article

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Delta Air Lines pledges $250,000 toward Australian wildfire relief

The ongoing bushfires in Australia have been devastating, to say the least, with at least 24 reported deaths, thousands of homes lost, and hundreds of thousands — if not in the millions — of animals killed.

Some 12 million acres have been affected, drawing worldwide attention.

Now Delta Air Lines is doing its part to contribute to fight the devastation. The Atlanta-based carrier announced Monday it will donate $250,000 to the American Red Cross in support of the Australian Red Cross as part of disaster response and humanitarian relief.

Westlake Legal Group AustralianWildfiresDelta Delta Air Lines pledges $250,000 toward Australian wildfire relief TravelPulse Rich Thomaselli fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/travel/regions/australia fox-news/travel/general/airlines fnc/travel fnc c82f9a98-9199-5a39-a856-6e8937c881d6 article

The Atlanta-based carrier announced Monday it will donate $250,000 to the American Red Cross in support of the Australian Red Cross as part of disaster response and humanitarian relief. (Delta)

“The record-breaking bushfires have been devastating for many Australians, and Delta has partnered with the American Red Cross and the Australian Red Cross to target resources to help provide immediate assistance to those areas hardest hit,” Tad Hutcheson, the managing director of community engagement for Delta, said in a statement.

More From TravelPulse

The collaboration is nothing new. The American Red Cross is Delta’s longest-standing nonprofit partner, which has allowed the airline, its employees and customers to help people in need since 1941. Delta employees participate in corporate blood drives throughout the year, making Delta the largest corporate sponsor of American Red Cross blood drives with 13,064 pints collected in the fiscal year 2019.

Delta customers can support the disaster relief efforts in Australia by donating through Delta-branded microsite partnership with the American Red Cross, which is working with the Australian Red Cross.

Customers also can donate miles to the American Red Cross through its SkyWish program, the charitable arm of Delta’s SkyMiles frequent flyer program, which allows Delta and its SkyMiles members to donate miles to charitable organizations worldwide.

Westlake Legal Group DeltaPlanbeIstock Delta Air Lines pledges $250,000 toward Australian wildfire relief TravelPulse Rich Thomaselli fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/travel/regions/australia fox-news/travel/general/airlines fnc/travel fnc c82f9a98-9199-5a39-a856-6e8937c881d6 article   Westlake Legal Group DeltaPlanbeIstock Delta Air Lines pledges $250,000 toward Australian wildfire relief TravelPulse Rich Thomaselli fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/travel/regions/australia fox-news/travel/general/airlines fnc/travel fnc c82f9a98-9199-5a39-a856-6e8937c881d6 article

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Australia wildfires force evacuations ahead of ‘dangerous, dynamic’ forecast; PM has another gaffe

A new set of evacuations was ordered Thursday in parts of Australia as hot and windy temperatures are forecast to bring “dangerous, dynamic” conditions that may further fuel fast-spreading wildfires as the country’s leader had yet another embarrassing moment when visiting a community impacted by the blazes.

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service urged the communities of Nowra, Narooma and Batemans Bay, located south of Sydney, to evacuate over fears that northwesterly winds were likely to once again drive blazes toward the coast. In neighboring Victoria state, fire-threatened populations were urged to act quickly on evacuation warnings.

“If you can get out, you should get out,” Andrew Crisp, Victoria’s emergency management commissioner, told reporters. “Because tomorrow is going to be a dangerous and dynamic day.”

AUSTRALIA’S SEVERE DROUGHT LEAVES UP TO 10,000 FERAL CAMELS AT RISK OF BEING SHOT

Temperatures in the area that may be threatened by wind change are expected to reach more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday, and conditions remained tinder dry.

Westlake Legal Group Australia1 Australia wildfires force evacuations ahead of 'dangerous, dynamic' forecast; PM has another gaffe Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox-news/weather fox news fnc/world fnc article 4b824ee9-9dfa-5b4c-bf83-ca6f3bd7c668

Cattle graze in a field as smoke rises from burning fires on mountains near Moruya, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

The fires, fueled by drought and the country’s hottest and driest year on record, have been raging since September, months earlier than is typical for Australia’s annual wildfire season. So far, the blazes have killed 26 people, destroyed 2,000 homes and scorched an area of about 25.5 million acres, roughly the size of South Korea.

In the New South Wales state, 132 fires were still burning as of early Friday, around 55 of which were uncontrolled.

“We can’t guarantee your safety and we don’t want to be putting emergency services — whether it be volunteers or paid staff — we do not want to put them in harm’s way because people didn’t follow advice that was given,” Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters.

As the blazes have raged across parts of the country, vacationers in places such as the coastal town of Mallacoota have been forced to retreat to beaches and into the ocean in recent weeks as destructive fires and choking smoke have encroached on the tourist towns.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has come under withering criticism both at home and abroad for what many perceive as his slow response to the crisis by downplaying the need for his government to address climate change, found himself again on defense Thursday after visiting a community ravaged by the flames.

AUSTRALIAN OFFICIALS CHARGED NEARLY 200 WITH FIRE OFFENSES AS DEADLY WILDFIRES RAGE

During a visit to the fire-ravaged Kangaroo Island on Thursday, Morrison had an awkward exchange with locals. In a video of his visit to the island, where an outback safari operator and his son were killed in the blazes, Morrison was seen telling locals: “Thankfully, we’ve had no loss of life.”

Westlake Legal Group kangaroo-island-burn-image Australia wildfires force evacuations ahead of 'dangerous, dynamic' forecast; PM has another gaffe Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox-news/weather fox news fnc/world fnc article 4b824ee9-9dfa-5b4c-bf83-ca6f3bd7c668

This is a Terra satellite image of Kangaroo Island on Jan. 7, 2020. (NASA Worldview)

After he was corrected, he continued: “Yes, two, that’s quite right. I was thinking about firefighters, firstly.”

It was the latest in a string of gaffes for Morrison, who created a public uproar when he took a family vacation to Hawaii in the middle of the disaster. He has tried to strike a more compassionate image since, and earlier this week promised the government would commit an extra 2 billion Australian dollars ($1.4 billion) toward the fire recovery effort.

“Tomorrow’s going to be a very difficult day in the eastern states,” Morrison said during a news conference on Thursday. “Once again, I express my sincere condolences and sympathies to the families of all of those who have lost loved ones during the course of this terrible disaster. We will continue to remember them, but also their families in particular in what they need, in supporting them.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

On Tuesday, the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho said at least 100 firefighters from the U.S. will join 159 already in the Australia battling wildfires. It’s the largest ever deployment of U.S. firefighters abroad.

Westlake Legal Group Australia2 Australia wildfires force evacuations ahead of 'dangerous, dynamic' forecast; PM has another gaffe Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox-news/weather fox news fnc/world fnc article 4b824ee9-9dfa-5b4c-bf83-ca6f3bd7c668

A sign is displayed beside a burned-out house near Mogo, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, thanking “firies” a colloquial term for firefighters. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Officials are working to send the additional firefighters to Australia quickly so they can assume wildfire management and aviation management roles. The most recent contingent of firefighters dispatched to Australia included crews that fight fires on the ground, based in the U.S. Forest Service’s Angeles National Forest in California.

Center spokeswoman Carrie Bilbao told the Associated Press the next group will also include more ground crews and that they are receiving training about poisonous snakes and insects they might encounter while fighting wildfires in Australia.

“They’re there to work with Australia in any capacity needed,” Bilbao said.

Rob Rogers, deputy commissioner for NSW Rural Fire Service, told former “Fox & Friends Weekend” host Anna Kooiman, who now works for Australia’s Network Ten, that American firefighters have been “an enormous help” for strained crews in Australia.

“They’ve been enormously welcome and they’ve fitted in really well with our teams here,” Rogers said Thursday on “Fox & Friends.” “They’ve been very popular.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group australia-bushfires-1 Australia wildfires force evacuations ahead of 'dangerous, dynamic' forecast; PM has another gaffe Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox-news/weather fox news fnc/world fnc article 4b824ee9-9dfa-5b4c-bf83-ca6f3bd7c668   Westlake Legal Group australia-bushfires-1 Australia wildfires force evacuations ahead of 'dangerous, dynamic' forecast; PM has another gaffe Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox-news/weather fox news fnc/world fnc article 4b824ee9-9dfa-5b4c-bf83-ca6f3bd7c668

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Australia wildfires bring over 100 firefighters from US, including elite crew from California

Firefighters battling out-of-control wildfires that have killed at least 25 people, hundreds of thousands of animals and scorched millions of acres across Australia are getting well-needed reinforcements from the U.S., including a team of veteran fire crews from California.

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, which is mobilizing U.S. resources in response to Australia’s requests for international firefighting aid, said the new batch of 20 veteran firefighters based in the Angeles National Forest north of Los Angeles departed on Monday for the region.

“As the extreme fire danger continues across Australia, the Department of the Interior will continue to do all that we can to support requests for assistance,” Craig Leff, director of the Department of the Interior’s Office of Wildland Fire, said in a statement. “Our focus remains on helping the people of Australia and keeping people safe in these unprecedented conditions.”

AUSTRALIAN OFFICIALS CHARGED NEARLY 200 WITH FIRE OFFENSES AS DEADLY WILDFIRES RAGE

Federal agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management already have provided a few dozen people, most of them with experience managing fires, a forest service spokesperson said Saturday.

Westlake Legal Group international-team-nifc-fire Australia wildfires bring over 100 firefighters from US, including elite crew from California Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox news fnc/world fnc article 9348e9b7-7a2d-5ff9-95bd-ee9b8a0f9160

A crew of firefighters from the U.S. that have arrived in Australia to help combat the deadly blazes. (National Interagency Fire Center)

The crew that left on Monday who left on Monday from Los Angeles International Airport will replace a group of personnel sent to Australia in early December. They include hot-shot and helicopter crew members with experience attacking fires early before they grow into large infernos, according to Angeles National Forest Fire Chief Robert Garcia.

The firefighters, 18 men and two women, said they were anticipating “strong fire behavior” and were preparing on what to expect based on their own experience battling wildfires in Southern California.

“We’re in an area where we are getting fires all the time, we’re kinda known for it, for getting fires, so I think we can translate that over [and] just see what the lay of the land would be out there,” Forest Service Firefighter Jorge Perez told FOX11.

The Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service said that over 100 fire personnel from the U.S. have been working with counterparts in Australia as they struggle to combat the devasting blazes.

“We send well-wishes of rain, lower temperatures & decreased winds,” the agency recently tweeted. “Thank you for your efforts!”

Australia and New Zealand have been sending firefighters to the United States for more than 15 years, most recently in August 2018, when 138 came to help battle fires in Northern California and the Northwest. The last time U.S. firefighters worked in Australia was 2010.

“Our thoughts and prayers, with our deepest condolences, are with the Australia firefighters and public who have lost their lives and homes,” U.S. Forest Service Fire Director Shawna Legarza said in a statement. “We are proud to provide personnel from the United States and will continue to support Australia with the resources needed during this unprecedented fire situation.”

AUSTRALIA WILDFIRES MAY MERGE INTO ‘MEGA BLAZE’ AS DEATH TOLL CLIMBS, GOVERNMENT VOWS ‘WHATEVER IT TAKES’

The fires, fueled by drought and the country’s hottest and driest year on record, have been raging since September, months earlier than is typical for Australia’s annual wildfire season. So far, the blazes have killed 25 people, destroyed 2,000 homes and scorched an area twice the size of the state of Maryland.

Westlake Legal Group AusWildfireSmoke1 Australia wildfires bring over 100 firefighters from US, including elite crew from California Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox news fnc/world fnc article 9348e9b7-7a2d-5ff9-95bd-ee9b8a0f9160

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison called up about 3,000 reservists as the threat of wildfires escalated last weekend. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

In the New South Wales state, 130 fires were still burning on Tuesday, around 50 of which were uncontrolled. Among those killed in the blazes are volunteer firefighter Andrew O’Dwyer, who perished on Dec. 19 after a tree fell into the path of the fire engine he was traveling in with colleague Geoffrey Keaton, 32, who was also killed.

During his funeral in Sydney on Tuesday, his young daughter Charlotte was presented with a service medal and was pictured wearing her father’s hat.

Nineteen-month-old Charlotte received the medal from rural fire service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons, who wept as he read out a tribute to her 36-year-old father during the service, according to Sky News.

“Charlotte should know her father was a selfless and special man, who only left because he was a hero,” Fitzsimmons said.

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On Tuesday, cooler and rainier weather was providing thousands of weary firefighters a “psychological and emotional” reprieve as they scrambled to strengthen containment lines around the blazes before temperatures rise again, according to Fitzsimmons.

“It really is about shoring up protection to limit the damage potential and the outbreak of these fires over the coming days,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

The rain was also complicating firefighters’ attempts to strategically backburn certain areas and was making the ground slippery for fire trucks.

Victoria state Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville said on Monday at least 8 inches of rain would need to fall in a short time to snuff out the fires — around 20 times what has fallen across the region in the past day. And officials warned that Australia’s wildfire season, which generally lasts through March, is nowhere near its end.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group international-team-2 Australia wildfires bring over 100 firefighters from US, including elite crew from California Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox news fnc/world fnc article 9348e9b7-7a2d-5ff9-95bd-ee9b8a0f9160   Westlake Legal Group international-team-2 Australia wildfires bring over 100 firefighters from US, including elite crew from California Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/world/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/world/disasters fox news fnc/world fnc article 9348e9b7-7a2d-5ff9-95bd-ee9b8a0f9160

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More than two dozen in Australian province charged with deliberately starting brush fires

Westlake Legal Group Australia-Wildfire-Getty-4 More than two dozen in Australian province charged with deliberately starting brush fires fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 6e56661c-0436-53a0-95a3-635951eff2d4

More than two dozen people have been charged in the Australian province of New South Wales for allegedly starting brush-fires as authorities continue their effort to crack down on suspected arsonists since the onset of what’s become a catastrophic wildfire season for the nation, according to a Monday press release.

AUSTRALIA WILDFIRES MAY MERGE INTO ‘MEGA BLAZE’ AS DEATH TOLL CLIMBS, GOVERNMENT VOWS ‘WHATEVER IT TAKES’

Since November 8, New South Wales Police have taken legal action against 183 people for fire-related offenses, including 24 individuals who have been charged over alleged deliberately-lit bushfires – a crime punishable by up to 21 years in prison.

Speaking to reporters Monday, Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliot said that three additional people have been charged with alleged looting in areas affected by brush fires in New South Wales’ South Coast region.

“For anybody — regardless of their age or mental state – who wants to take advantage of their fellow citizens’ disadvantage, they should expect full force of the law,” Elliot said in a press conference. “I share the premier’s horror and the police’s horror at someone wanting to go and loot the home of an individual or a family who’ve potentially lost everything.”

Thousands of firefighters continue to battle the blazes that have burned millions of acres in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, an area twice the size of Maryland. Nationwide, at least 25 people have been killed and 2,000 homes destroyed by the blazes, while hundreds of millions of animals are believed to have perished.

In New South Wales alone, the fires have killed nearly 500 million birds, reptiles and mammals, Sydney University ecologist Chris Dickman told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Detectives from the Financial Crimes Squad’s Arson Unit have been working with local police to investigate the cause, origin and impact of fires since the latest State of Emergency was declared last Thursday, according to the press release.  An initiative in New South Wales – dubbed Strike Force Tronto – has also lead to legal action against 53 people for allegedly failing to comply with a total fire ban and 47 people for allegedly “discarding a lighted cigarette or match on land.”

Celebrities and politicians have taken to social media to raise money for firefighters across Australian battling the blaze.  Chris, Luke and Liam Hemsworth – who are from Melbourne – announced on Instagram that they were pledging $1 million to the effort. Australian actress Nicole Kidman and her husband, country singer Keith Urban donated $500,000 to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service. And Pink also donated $500,000 to firefighters in the country, as well as shared links to local agencies accepting contributions.

Australians know to expect summer wildfires. But the blazes arrived early this year, fed by drought and the country’s hottest and driest year on record. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Saturday that he would dispatch 3,000 army, navy and air force reservists to help battle the fires and commit $14 million, in US dollars, to lease fire-fighting aircraft from overseas.

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But the moves did little to tamp down the criticism that he had been slow to act, even as he has downplayed the need for his government to address climate change. As of dawn Sunday, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service said 150 fires were active in the state, 64 of them uncontrolled.

Fox News’ Travis Fedschun and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Australia-Wildfire-Getty-4 More than two dozen in Australian province charged with deliberately starting brush fires fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 6e56661c-0436-53a0-95a3-635951eff2d4   Westlake Legal Group Australia-Wildfire-Getty-4 More than two dozen in Australian province charged with deliberately starting brush fires fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 6e56661c-0436-53a0-95a3-635951eff2d4

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Bindi Irwin and family have treated more than 90,000 animals hurt in Australia wildfires

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1039439012 Bindi Irwin and family have treated more than 90,000 animals hurt in Australia wildfires Jessica Napoli fox-news/world/world-regions/pacific fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 19e31959-9ca6-5f2c-9d89-e294213e885c

Bindi Irwin and her family, who own and operate the Australia Zoo, have dedicated the past few weeks to treating and saving as many animals as they can that have been hurt in the devastating wildfires in Australia.

“With so many devastating fires within Australia, my heart breaks for the people and wildlife who have lost so much,” she wrote Thursday on Instagram.

“I wanted to let you know that we are SAFE,” Bindi added. “There are no fires near us @AustraliaZoo or our conservation properties.”

BINDI IRWIN: MY PURPOSE IN THIS WORLD IS TO INSPIRE OTHERS

The 21-year-old animal and environmental activist said they’ve been “busier than ever” and have treated over 90,000 animals for injuries sustained.

“My parents dedicated our Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital to my beautiful grandmother,” she captioned a photo of herself standing in front of a photo of her dad Steve Irwin grand grandmother. “We will continue to honour her by being Wildlife Warriors and saving as many lives as we can.”

On Friday, Bindi shared a heartbreaking story of a possum they tried to save. “Blossom the possum was admitted to the #AustraliaZoo Wildlife Hospital after being caught in one of the bushfires burning in other parts of Queensland,” she wrote.

BINDI IRWIN ANNOUNCES HER SURPRISE ENGAGEMENT TO BOYFRIEND OF 6 YEARS CHANDLER POWELL

“We have such an incredible team who work day and night to protect gorgeous animals like Blossom. Devastatingly this beautiful girl didn’t make it even after working so hard to save her life. I want to thank you for your kind words and support.”

“This is the heart-wrenching truth, every day is a battle to stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves,” Bindi said, urging people to help by visiting wildlifewarriors.org.

“Now more than ever we need to work together to make a difference and protect our Mother Earth.”

SINGER PINK DONATES $500G TO HELP FIGHT AUSTRALIA WILDFIRES

Robert, Bindi’s brother, also has been updating his followers on social about their rescue efforts. “This is patient number 90,000 that the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital has treated. ‘Ollie’ the orphaned platypus is receiving round the clock care until he can be released back to the wild,” he wrote.

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“Over the last 16 years, the hospital has provided 24/7 wildlife rehabilitation and an incredible animal rescue service. We’re so proud of this world-class facility! Thank you for your support – with pressures from drought to bushfires, wildlife need our help now more than ever.”

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1039439012 Bindi Irwin and family have treated more than 90,000 animals hurt in Australia wildfires Jessica Napoli fox-news/world/world-regions/pacific fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 19e31959-9ca6-5f2c-9d89-e294213e885c   Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1039439012 Bindi Irwin and family have treated more than 90,000 animals hurt in Australia wildfires Jessica Napoli fox-news/world/world-regions/pacific fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 19e31959-9ca6-5f2c-9d89-e294213e885c

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Sydney suburb becomes hottest place on earth as temps reach 120 degrees; wildfire death toll reaches 23

Australia’s wildfire crisis reached new heights Saturday after it was reported that temperatures in a large suburb in the western part of Sydney reached 120 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the hottest place on earth.

The nearly 200,000 residents of Penrith experienced the hottest day ever recorded in greater Sydney after temperatures soared to 120 degrees, prompting officials to warn that it’s now too dangerous to even evacuate.

AUSTRALIA WILDFIRES PROMPT NAVY BEACH RESCUES, MARKING LARGEST PEACETIME EVACUATIONS IN HISTORY 

Westlake Legal Group AP20004327426049 Sydney suburb becomes hottest place on earth as temps reach 120 degrees; wildfire death toll reaches 23 Paulina Dedaj fox-news/world/world-regions/pacific fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/world fnc b00ab1f6-20c7-5687-9e79-1f48a27153da article

Australia’s prime minister called up about 3,000 reservists as the threat of wildfires escalated in at least three states on Saturday, while strong winds and high temperatures were forecast to bring flames to populated areas including the suburbs of Sydney. (AP)

“We are now in a position where we are saying to people it’s not safe to move, it’s not safe to leave these areas,” New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters. “We are in for a long night and I make no bones about that. We are still yet to hit the worst of it.”

By nightfall, some 3,600 firefighters were battling blazes that continued to burn across the state.

Westlake Legal Group AP20004120418961 Sydney suburb becomes hottest place on earth as temps reach 120 degrees; wildfire death toll reaches 23 Paulina Dedaj fox-news/world/world-regions/pacific fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/world fnc b00ab1f6-20c7-5687-9e79-1f48a27153da article

A man uses a water hose to battle a fire near Moruya, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020. Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison called up about 3,000 reservists as the threat of wildfires escalated Saturday in at least three states with two more deaths, and strong winds and high temperatures were forecast to bring flames to populated areas including the suburbs of Sydney. (AP)

High temperatures, dry heat and strong winds have created the perfect storm to allow the now-more than 200 fires to continue to burn and spread at a rapid speed since the wildfires first began in early Sept.

“The ignition sources are already there,” Country Fire Service chief officer Mark Jones said Friday. “There are millions of sparks out there ready to go if they break containment lines.”

Smoke from the wildfires has choked air quality and turned daytime skies to near-nighttime darkness in the worst-hit areas. Its presence can be even seen in satellite images.

AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER BERATED BY LOCALS IN VISIT TO WILDFIRE-RAVAGED TOWN; FIRE CONDITIONS MAY WORSEN 

Westlake Legal Group AP20004114988000 Sydney suburb becomes hottest place on earth as temps reach 120 degrees; wildfire death toll reaches 23 Paulina Dedaj fox-news/world/world-regions/pacific fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/world fnc b00ab1f6-20c7-5687-9e79-1f48a27153da article

A Forest Corporation worker manages a fire hose as he battles a fire near Moruya, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020.  (AP)

Video and images shared on social media showed blood red skies taking over Mallacoota, a coastal town in Victoria where as many as 4,000 residents and tourists were forced to shelter on beaches as the navy tried to evacuate as many people as possible.

Westlake Legal Group Australia-Wildfire-Getty-4 Sydney suburb becomes hottest place on earth as temps reach 120 degrees; wildfire death toll reaches 23 Paulina Dedaj fox-news/world/world-regions/pacific fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/world fnc b00ab1f6-20c7-5687-9e79-1f48a27153da article

Residents look on as flames burn through bush on January 04, 2020 in Lake Tabourie, Australia. A state of emergency has been declared across NSW with dangerous fire conditions forecast for Saturday, as more than 140 bushfires continue to burn. There have been eight confirmed deaths in NSW since Monday 30 December. 1365 homes have been lost, while 3.6 million hectares have been burnt this fire season.  (Getty)

Kangaroo Island, which lies just off the coast of South Australia, has seen some of the worst destruction to land and wildlife.

One man shared a video to Facebook Thursday that showed fire tornadoes that were forming due to the strong winds.

“Here’s another fire twister on Kangaroo Island this afternoon. We had a fair few of them today and it wasn’t even a hot day,” his post read.

THOUSANDS OF KOALAS FEARED DEAD IN RAGING AUSTRALIA WILDFIRES, OFFICIALS SAY 

A father and son, 78 and 43, died on the island Saturday bringing the total death count up to at least 23, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“We are facing another extremely difficult next 24 hours,” Morrison said at a televised news conference where he announced that about 3,000 reservists have been called up to battles the wildfires.

Westlake Legal Group Australia-Wildfire-REUTERS Sydney suburb becomes hottest place on earth as temps reach 120 degrees; wildfire death toll reaches 23 Paulina Dedaj fox-news/world/world-regions/pacific fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/world fnc b00ab1f6-20c7-5687-9e79-1f48a27153da article

The sky glows orange as surrounding wildfires close in on the town of Mallacoota, Victoria, Australia, January 4, 2020, in this photo obtained from social media.  (@brendanh_au/via REUTERS)

“In recent times, particularly over the course of the balance of this week, we have seen this disaster escalate to an entirely new level.”

Defense Minister Linda Reynolds said it was the first time that reservists had been called up “in this way in living memory and, in fact, I believe for the first time in our nation’s history.”

An early and hot start to Australia’s summer has contributed to the wildfires which have now burned more than 12.35 million acres of land and destroyed more than 1,500 homes.

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In addition to the loss of human life, Australia’s wildlife has been heavily impacted.

Sydney University ecologist Chris Dickman told the Sydney Morning Herald that it is likely that 500 million birds, reptiles and mammals in New South Wales alone have been killed in the fires. This excludes frogs, bats and insects which he said would make his estimate far greater than that.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Australia-Wildfire-Getty-4 Sydney suburb becomes hottest place on earth as temps reach 120 degrees; wildfire death toll reaches 23 Paulina Dedaj fox-news/world/world-regions/pacific fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/world fnc b00ab1f6-20c7-5687-9e79-1f48a27153da article   Westlake Legal Group Australia-Wildfire-Getty-4 Sydney suburb becomes hottest place on earth as temps reach 120 degrees; wildfire death toll reaches 23 Paulina Dedaj fox-news/world/world-regions/pacific fox-news/world/world-regions/australia fox-news/world/disasters/fires fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/world fnc b00ab1f6-20c7-5687-9e79-1f48a27153da article

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