Australian musician Amy Shark has summed up how most of Australia is feeling this Christmas after an exhausting and deadly fire season.
Shark, who originally hails from the Gold Coast, took to Instagram to stress the significance of the out-of-control fires and used an image from the recent Adelaide Hills fire tragedy to call for more support for the Rural Fire Service.
The moving picture from Eden Hills Country Fire Service, shows a firefighter and a koala watching on as a blaze sweeps across South Australia’s famous wine region.
“I had a photo of me, in front of a Christmas tree and I was about to post it but I felt sad and selfish. Australia is burning,” she wrote.
“These fires are beyond human ability to control. This photo of a firefighter and a koala breaks my heart. The bravery and commitment of everyday Australians is inspiring. You can donate in many ways but there is a link in my bio to the NSW rural fire service. I am donating now.”
The sombre words drummed up support from her followers, who were too, not feeling all that Merry this Christmas Eve.
“This is the best thing I’ve seen all week. Can’t believe the amount of selfies and other selfish crap I’ve seen on the socials while a huge part of the country is being destroyed by fires,” a user wrote.
“Crying. Truly crying. These fires are so devastating,” one follower commented.
“So smoky each and everyday here and no rain in sight.. Ash and burnt leaves falling in my backyard,” another added.
“We donated instead of gift giving 🇦🇺,” said another follower.
This fire season is proving to be particularly dangerous. During the past couple of months, more than 900 homes have been lost, according to authorities and at least 10 people have died, including two volunteer firefighters who were killed when their truck rolled over on the fireground near Sydney last Thursday.
After the deaths of two firefighters, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced he would return home early from a family holiday in Hawaii. His ill-timed trip caused much criticism from the Australian public with the hashtags #NotMyPrimeMinister, #FireMorrison and #NotMyPM trending on Twitter for the last fortnight.
On Sunday, Morrison acknowledged his holiday had caused anxiety.
“I get it that people would have been upset to know that I was holidaying with my family while their families were under great stress,” Morrison said.
On Saturday, fires swept through the New South Wales town of Balmoral, located just a couple of kilometres from Yanderra, prompting NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to declare there was “not much left”.
In South Australia, wine industry representatives say the fires have potentially wiped out a third of wine production, or 1,100 hectares, in the Adelaide Hills Wine Region. The industry’s potential damage is estimated in excess of A$100 million, according to media reports.
Uncontrolled fires are still burning in Adelaide Hills and NSW is in the midst of a seven-day State of Emergency meaning the Rural Fire Service Commissioner and Emergency Services Personnel has more power including ability to decide what happens with the allocation of government resources and to evacuate people from hazardous zones in the declared area.
Reuters contributed to this report.