Fifty-one Canadians are currently in New South Wales, where there are around 60 wildfires yet to be contained. Another 17 will be travelling there on Dec. 30.
More than 200 blazes are burning across four states in the country.
More than three million hectares of land have burned in the country in the past few months, killing nine people and destroying nearly 1,000 homes.
About 850 of those homes were in New South Wales, which last week was paralyzed by a seven-day state of emergency due to the fires.
The wildfires come amid record-breaking heat in the country — over 41 degrees Celsius — and a long-running drought in the country’s east that has created tinder-dry conditions.
Here’s a look at the fires and the damage left behind:
Conditions for animals
The fires are also damaging the country’s wildlife, and have especially threatened species with rare habitats. The fires in New South Wales, for example, have essentially wiped out the prime habitat for the long-nosed potoroo, according to Science magazine.
Animal sanctuaries and rescue organizations, meanwhile, are weighing whether to try evacuating threatened areas or risk staying to try to protect the animals.
Some regional koala and flying fox populations have been destroyed, while kangaroos, koalas and echidnas have been spotted seeking shelter in urban areas.
In New South Wales, an environmental group estimated more than 2,000 koalas had been killed as one-third of their habitat burned.
A video posted on Facebook by firefighters in South Australia showed a firefighter giving water to a thirsty koala Sunday.
A kangaroo was also spotted cooling off in backyard pool in a bush fire-ravaged region of Australia. While not known for their swimming skills, kangaroos do seek bodies of water in intense heat, though usually in the wild.
Help from Canada
The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre said that a contingent of 21 staff from a variety of agencies left Canada on Dec. 3 for a 38-day deployment in New South Wales.
On Dec. 19 a second group of 30 Canadians was sent in for a 38-day deployment in the fire zone, and a further 17 are leaving on Dec. 30 for about a month.
Crews from Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Yukon, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. are assisting with a variety of tasks, including roles in command, aviation, planning, logistics and operations.
The Canadian help is a first for Australia, but Australian firefighters have stepped up to help Canada four times since 2015.
— With files from Reuters, The Canadian Press and The Associated Press
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