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3 American Firefighters Die in Australia 'Fireball' Crash

Aerial water tanker went down in New South Wales

(Newser) - Three Americans died Thursday when a C-130 Hercules aerial water tanker crashed while battling wildfires in the Snowy Monaro region of Australia's southern New South Wales state, officials say. Coulson Aviation in Oregon said in a statement that one of its C-130 Lockheed large air tankers was lost after... More »

Wiggle Recovering After Cardiac Arrest at Fundraiser

Greg Page sang for 90 minutes before collapsing

(Newser) - One of the original Wiggles, Greg Page, is recovering in a Sydney hospital after collapsing during a show to raise money for groups fighting the Australian wildfires. The cause was cardiac arrest, the BBC reports. The children's band's Twitter account said Page, the band's original lead singer,... More »

Firefighters Save World's Only 'Dinosaur Trees'

Australian wildfire almost wiped out Wollemi Pines

(Newser) - Specialist firefighters have saved the world’s last remaining wild stand of a prehistoric tree from wildfires that razed forests west of Sydney, officials say. Firefighters winched from helicopters to reach the cluster of fewer than 200 Wollemi Pines in a remote gorge in the Blue Mountains a week before... More »

An Aussie Open Cloaked in Smoke: 'I Couldn't Walk Anymore'

One player quit her match, 2 called medical timeouts, Sharapova's match called off amid fires

(Newser) - The Victorian government's advice as Australia's bushfires rage on is to "minimize the time spent in smoky conditions" and "avoid exercise"—both tough to do if you're competing outdoors in the Australian Open. But that's what players were forced to contend with Monday... More »

Bezos Donation to Australia Doesn't Land Well

Critics fault him for giving less than others

(Newser) - It's not often a million-dollar donation is called paltry. But such is the case when the person giving it is Jeff Bezos—and when the million is in Australian dollars, making it worth $690,000 American. The controversy started after the Amazon CEO announced the donation on Instagram , reports... More »

Australia Air-Drops Food for Struggling Wildlife

'Operation Rock Wallaby' aids endangered species

(Newser) - Australian wildlife struggling to survive in the aftermath of devastating wildfires are getting some help from above. Thousands of pounds of sweet potatoes and carrots have been dropped from helicopters by national park staff as part of Operation Rock Wallaby in New South Wales, 9News reports. The brush-tailed rock wallaby... More »

Australia Fires Set to Merge Into 'Megablaze'

Thousands flee homes as danger rises again

(Newser) - Thousands of people fled their homes and helicopters dropped supplies to towns at risk of nearby wildfires as hot, windy conditions Friday threatened already fire-ravaged southeastern Australian communities. The danger is centered on New South Wales and Victoria, Australia’s most populous states, where temperatures and wind speeds are escalating... More »

His Family Lost Their Home. Then, Her 'Special Numbers' Delivered

A hopeful story out of Australia's devastating bushfires

(Newser) - Enormous tragedy followed by enormous good fortune: A Queensland man who lost his family home in New South Wales in Australia's devastating bushfires will be able to rebuild it with funds from the lottery he just won. The man, who doesn't want to be identified, won a million... More »

As Nation Burns, Australians Turn Rage on Their PM

Anger is mounting over Scott Morrison's wildfire response

(Newser) - The question a few weeks ago was " where the bloody hell " was Scott Morrison. The question now is whether Australia's prime minister can survive the crisis at home and serve out a full three-year term. As the AP reports, there's been an eruption of anger over... More »

She Wanted to Help Australia's Fire Victims. Out Came the Nudes

'Naked Philanthropist' Kaylen Ward says she's brought in $700K, but the initiative has its downside

(Newser) - The "Naked Philanthropist" will be sending out a lot of nude photos after she says she raised $700,000 for victims of Australia's bushfires. Los Angeles model Kaylen Ward urged Twitter followers Friday to donate to groups such as the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, Victoria Country... More »

Golden Globes' Cause du Jour: Australian Wildfires

Russell Crowe was forced to miss ceremony due to fires in his homeland

(Newser) - Russell Crowe won a Golden Globe on Sunday night—but the Australian was in his homeland, helping protect his family and his home from raging wildfires. Presenter Jennifer Aniston read out his absentee acceptance speech for best actor in a TV miniseries, which Crowe won for his portrayal of Roger... More »

Nicole Kidman Throws $500K at Fighting Aussie Fires

Australian comedian's campaign tops $22M in 48 hours

(Newser) - A Facebook fundraiser to help firefighting efforts in Australia quickly topped $22 million on Sunday, with help from celebrities. Australian comedian Celeste Barber started the campaign, to benefit the Rural Fire Service in New South Wales, only 48 hours before. The athletes who have contributed include the No. 1 women'... More »

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

(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... More »

In Rare Move, US Sends Firefighters to Australia

Mass evacuations underway as danger rises

(Newser) - In 2018, around 140 firefighters from Australia and New Zealand helped fight wildfires in California and other western states. With wildfires now raging in Australia, the help is being repaid. Around 100 American firefighters have been sent to Australia over the last four weeks and at least 50 more will... More »

500M Animals Feared Dead in Australia Fires

'Our concern is that ... they're not there anymore, basically'

(Newser) - Those devastated to learn of the likely deaths of thousands of koalas in Australia's wildfires should take a deep breath. Ecologists from the University of Sydney now estimate some 480 million animals have been killed since September, per News.com.au . The outlet notes the figure is "likely... More »

From Inside the Fire Truck, This Is What They Saw

Videos show apocalyptic scenes amid Australia blazes

(Newser) - From inside the truck barreling through burning trees, it looked like the end of the world. Sparks flew past the windows as crew members with Fire and Rescue New South Wales confronted a blaze south of Nowra, Australia, on Tuesday. Then suddenly, there was nothing but flames. "The crew... More »

Raging Wildfires Trap 4K at Town's Waterfront

Death toll from Australia fires now at least 12

(Newser) - Wildfires burning across Australia's two most populous states Tuesday trapped residents of a seaside town in apocalyptic conditions, destroyed many properties, and caused at least two fatalities. In the southeastern town of Mallacoota, around 4,000 residents fled toward the waterside as winds pushed an emergency-level wildfire toward their... More »

Sydney: 'We Can't Cancel' Show Despite Conditions

The city's NYE fireworks display will likely go on

(Newser) - Cancel its world-famous New Year's Eve fireworks show? No way, say Australian officials, despite concerns about holding the event while over 100 wildfires rage across the country, CNN reports. Under pressure to cancel, Sydney's Lord Mayor Clover Moore said she was "moved by the outpouring of support... More »

Australia Fears Loss of Thousands of Koalas in Fires

As much as 30% of the marsupial's habitat has been destroyed

(Newser) - Thousands of koalas are feared to have died in a wildfire-ravaged area north of Sydney, further diminishing Australia's iconic marsupial, while soaring temperatures have increased the fire danger Saturday in the country’s east. The mid-northern coast of New South Wales was home to up to 28,000 koalas,... More »

'ScoMo, Where the Bloody Hell Are You?'

Australian PM ending Hawaiian vacation after deaths of 2 more firefighters in wildfires

(Newser) - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was enjoying the Hawaiian sunshine while two volunteer firefighters died battling bushfires at home Thursday, prompting what Reuters calls a "rare" apology. "I deeply regret any offense caused to any of the many Australians affected by the terrible bushfires by my taking leave... More »

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