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American firefighters were welcomed with applause and cheers in the Sydney, Australia, airport this week as they arrived with gear in hand to help fight against the wildfires currently ravaging the country.
On Thursday, Shane Fitzsimmons, commissioner of New South Wales Rural Fire Service, shared a video of the emotional moment on Twitter:
US fire fighters arrived at Sydney Int Airport this week, on their way to assist with fire fighting in Victoria.
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
— Shane Fitzsimmons (@RFSCommissioner) January 9, 2020
This is the first time since 2010 that the U.S. has sent firefighters to help Australia battle wildfires. The National Interagency Fire Center, the government agency coordinating the U.S. firefighters going to Australia, told the Los Angeles Times that “roughly 100 firefighters” had been sent in December and early January, with “50 to 60 more planned to be dispatched” this week.
48 U.S. firefighters arriving in Melbourne to lend a hand to the rockstar Aussie crews battling bushfires day & night. They’ll deploy to country Victoria to help our friends, just as they’ve helped us many times. ❤️🇺🇸🇦🇺 #USwithAUS #vicfires #AustraliaFires pic.twitter.com/H4x6eo6BpD
— usconsulatemelbourne (@usconsulatemelb) January 8, 2020
Canada has also sent firefighters to Australia for the first time. Those firefighters were also received with cheers at the airport, according to a New York Times Australia correspondent on the scene.
I happened to return to Sydney this morning right as 21 American and Canadian firefighters arrived to help with fires. Officials thanked them. Australians in the airport clapped and cheered. pic.twitter.com/TJvEA41pao
— Damien Cave (@damiencave) January 5, 2020
Estimates say the wildfires will leave more than 1 billion animals dead, and will cause the loss of 30% of koalas’ key habitat in New South Wales and potentially a third of the animal’s population in that region.
The fires have also left 25 people dead, caused the damage and destruction of more than 2,000 homes, and covered an area of 31,000 square miles.
You can support organizations saving wildlife by donating to WWF Australia, NSW-based animal rescue group Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service (WIRES), Zoos Victoria’s bushfire emergency wildlife fund, Australia Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital, or Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.