U.S. Sends More Support to Australia to Help Battle Deadly Bushfires

Thick plumes of smoke rise from bushfires at the coast of East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia, Jan. 4, 2020.Thick plumes of smoke rise from bushfires at the coast of East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia, Jan. 4, 2020.
Australian Maritime Safety Authority via Reuters

Wildfires raged on Saturday in Australia, choking the sky with smoke, forcing thousands to flee and prompting the U.S. to send more fire personnel to help battle the blazes.

The added personnel, nearly two dozen from the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Forest Service, “will continue to support Australia with the resources needed during this unprecedented fire situation,” according to a statement from U.S. Forest Service Fire Director Shawna Legarza.

The country’s wildfires began in September and are expected to last for several months as the hot weather continues.

As of Saturday, the coast in New South Wales was shrouded in bush fires, according to an interactive map from MyFireWatch.

At points, the flames in Batemans Bay, New South Wales, were so intense that firefighters had to stop battling the wildfires for their own safety.

Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and Southern Australia have also battled wildfires.

The additional support from the U.S. is on top of the more than 74 fire personnel from DOI and USFS that have already been deployed, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

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SOURCE: ABC News, Maggie Rulli and Ella Torres