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Chris Hemsworth announces $1 million donation to Australia bush fire relief efforts: 'We're really still in the thick of it here'

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
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Chris Hemsworth’s love of Australia runs deep, so he’s making a big donation to the bush fire relief efforts in his homeland.

The Thor star — who lives in the coastal town of Byron Bay within New South Wales, an area that has seen a record-breaking amount of land burned — announced Tuesday that he and his family are donating $1 million to fire fighting efforts. Hemsworth is married to Spanish model Elsa Pataky and his brothers are actors Liam Hemsworth and Luke Hemsworth.

“As you are well aware, the bush fires in Australia have caused massive devastation,” Hemsworth said in a social media video announcing the donation. “They continue to burn, there is warmer weather on its way, we’re really still in the thick of it here. There are plenty of challenging times ahead still to come.”

He continued, “What we need is your support and donations. I’m going to put forward $1 million and I was hoping that all of you could contribute in any way shape or form — every dollar counts. That money goes directly to the firefighters, the people on the front lines, the people who have suffered, the communities that have taken a hit and who are in desperate need of our support.”

Hemsworth updated his Instagram bio to include links to support firefighters and charitable organizations working to “provide support and relief during this devastating and challenging time.”

He also thanked everyone who already made donations or sent well wishes, describing himself as “beyond appreciative.” He added, “It really does make a difference, so dig deep.”

The video has been reshared by his brother Liam and Hemsworth’s wife.

Hemsworth is literally the poster boy of Australia: He was named the Global Ambassador for Tourism Australia in January 2016. He gives interviews solely discussing his love of Australia and appears on the country’s tourism website.

After briefly living in Hollywood at the start of his career, Hemsworth relocated his family — he and Pataky have three children — back to Australia, where he grew up. He recently built a new home in Byron Bay — the beach town where he is often seen surfing, oftentimes with his brothers.

Hemsworth also hosts his celebrity friends in Byron Bay, including frequent visitor Matt Damon.

This bush fire season has been horrifically bad all over the continent. At least 25 people — and an estimated 500 million animals — have died since September. Almost 2,000 homes have been destroyed. It’s summer there, so there’s been little rain and temperatures have been soaring — with Sydney hitting a record 120 degrees on Saturday.

Hemsworth is one of many celebrities working to raise funds for first responders and beyond. A fundraiser started by Australian comedian Celeste Barber for fire services in New South Wales raised more than $30 million.

Elton John donated $1 million to recovery efforts — an announcement he made as he closed a show in Sydney. Nicole Kidman, who is from Australia, donated $500,000 with husband Keith Urban, as did Aussie pop star Kylie Minogue. Pink also pledged $500.000.

The family of the late Steve Irwin — Terri, Bindi and Robert — have treated over 90,000 animals from all over the continent at their Australia Zoo, which is out of the path of the fires.

At the Golden Globes on Sunday, Australia was on the minds of many. Russell Crowe skipped the show to stay in Australia to protect his property, having Jennifer Aniston read his speech, which talked about climate change and the need to address it immediately. Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge announced plans to auction off the Ralph & Russo tuxedo she wore Sunday night, with the proceeds going toward relief efforts in Australia.

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