American firefighters who arrived in Sydney, Australia to help battle the devastating wildfires got a warm welcome and a spontaneous and lengthy round of applause. A video posted by Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons shows the travellers at Sydney's international airport cheering and clapping as the group of US firefighters arrived. Sean Snyder, an assistant fire management officer for the US Forest Service in Talladega, Alabama also volunteered for the assignment, which is supposed to last at least 30 days.
US fire fighters arrived at Sydney Int Airport this week, on their way to assist with fire fighting in Victoria.— Shane Fitzsimmons (@RFSCommissioner) January 9, 2020
Coming through, all gathered gave a spontaneous & lengthy round of applause, reflecting the gratitude & admiration we all have for their generosity. #NSWRFS @NSWRFS pic.twitter.com/5epg5y4qxX
This is the first time since 2010 that the US has sent firefighters to Australia, however, New Zealand and Australias have been sending firefighters to America for more than 15 years. Australia has been rocked by unprecedented bushfire for several months. More than 135 bushfires are still burning across the state, including almost 70 that were uncontained. The Australian authorities on January 9 also issued new warnings and evacuation notices across the country as a return of hot weather fanned bush fires and threatened several towns and communities.
Earlier this week, Australian PM Scott Morrison also warned that the crisis due to catastrophic bushfires are not over and might go on for months. Speaking to reporters on January 5, Morrison said that Tasmania and Victoria witness more difficult season in January and February so there is still a long way to go. “And sadly there will still be more cost that will be incurred as a result of the devastating impacts,” said the Prime Minister.
The Australian Prime Minister has further announced the establishment of a national bushfire recovery fund with an initial $2 billion. The fund will be used to coordinate a national response to rebuild communities and livelihoods in the aftermath of a catastrophic bushfire. Morrison said that the initial fund is to ensure support to families, farmers and business owners hit by bushfires.
“It’s a long road ahead and we will be with these communities every step of the way as they rebuild,” said Morrison. “The agency will ensure the work of state and territory governments is being supported and act as a ‘one-stop-shop’ central team to coordinate the response. We will do whatever it takes,” said the Prime Minister in a statement.