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Big Name Pledges $500K to Help Fight Aussie Fires

Singer Pink steps up to help friends Down Under, where one blaze is now the size of Manhattan
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2020 7:30 AM CST
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In this image dated Dec. 30, 2019, firefighters are seen as they try to protect homes around Charmhaven, New South Wales.   (Twitter, @NSWRFS via AP)
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(Newser) – More than 100 firefighters from the US and Canada have rushed to the other side of the world to help fight the wildfires in Australia that have killed nearly two dozen people and an estimated 500 million animals so far. CNN reports things don't look to get any better on Saturday, with the nation's weather service warning of rising temperatures and heavier winds: "Today will be a day of severe to extreme fire danger through many districts." In the Omeo section of Victoria state, things are especially dire after three separate blazes merged Friday night to form on giant inferno that the local Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning says stretches for 23 square miles—larger than the size of Manhattan, CNN notes.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison—who the New York Times reports has been slammed for how he's handling the wildfires, including for going on vacation to Hawaii in the midst of it all—announced Saturday that 3,000 military reservists would be called upon to help with firefighting efforts, and that $14 million would be used to commission four more water-bombing aircraft. Meanwhile, at least one big name in the US is stepping up to help out her friends Down Under: Early Saturday, singer Pink tweeted she's "totally devastated" by what's going on there, and that she is pledging $500,000 for local fire departments. "My heart goes out to our friends and family in Oz," she posted. (At least 500 million animals are believed dead in the Australian fires.)

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