Honoring Australia’s Wildfire Heroes

When disasters like Australia’s devastating brush fires ensue, it truly takes a community (and in this case, a nation) to grapple with the losses and begin to rebuild. There have been countless heroes who have risked–and even given–their lives so that others might be safe. The Daily Mail wrote a great roundup of Oz fire heroes and we thought we’d share a few of their stories.


NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons (top photo)

As his state was engulfed by dozens of fires burning an area bigger than Belgium, the volunteer firefighting boss never wavered. His leadership acted as a beacon of inspiration for his 70,000 volunteers and the state of NSW at large through his handling of the crisis.

Commissioner Fitzsimmons, 50, drew universal praise for his calm and composed delivery of information as a reassuring presence in countless press conferences.

Toni Doherty (bottom L photo)

Ms. Doherty was declared a hero by thousands after she ran into burning forest to rescue a struggling koala from certain death.She spotted Lewis the koala in fires around Long Flat, near Port Macquarie, NSW, and scooped him up in her own clothes.

Viral footage showed Lewis, with patches of fur missing, running close to the fires before Ms Doherty poured bottles of water onto him and wrapped him up in a blanket.

Jawad Nabouche, Talal Kanj, Belal Shmait, Huseyin Jasli
(bottom R photo)

Four friends went above and beyond in their desire to help exhausted and starving bushfire victims and firefighters. After seeing the devastation on the NSW Mid North Coast, they drove 450km from Auburn in Sydney to the town of Willawarrin, west of Port Macquarie. After the more than five-hour journey, the Muslim men put on a free barbeque to lift the spirits of locals and feed those who lost everything.

Days later they returned for a second cookout, armed with 30kg of sausages and meat, bread rolls, and 30 boxes of water.

If you’re able to, please consider making a donation to help Australian wildfire victims. 

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