How to help evacuees, first responders and animals affected by Australian wildfires | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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How to help evacuees, first responders and animals affected by Australian wildfires

Countless individuals and animals have been displaced, injured or killed due to the fires.
Image Credit: INSTAGRAM / Australian Red Cross
January 10, 2020 - 7:00 AM

If you've been watching the news about the fires ravaging Australia, you're likely feeling for the people, animals and environment affected.  

The whole country is experiencing devastating fires, with many sparking in the eastern states

But if you want to help, you are best off being strategic to ensure the money is used in the best way possible and that's not always clear. Whether you want to help animals and wildlife displaced by the fires, families and individuals who have been affected, the first responders, or donate to an environmental cause, it can be difficult to figure out what charities are best suited to use your dollars in an effective manner. We’ve created a list of some of the charities to give your dollars to, so you can pick the ones that are closest to your heart.


If you want to help out people and social services dealing with those displaced or affected by the fire, check out some of these charities.

Australian Red Cross Disaster Recovery and Relief is a branch of one of the most well-known charitable organizations in the world. Donating here will benefit people in evacuation shelters, the volunteers who help them, provide psychological first aid and create long term strategies for affected communities.

With almost 1,500 homes lost during the crisis, UNICEF Australia has stepped up to help families and children by providing recovery, relief and rehabilitation. A main focus of the organization is getting children back to a sense of normalcy by offering a return to education, and ensuring their voices are heard, as they did last year during the New South Wales drought.

Victoria Bushfire Appeal has been set up by the state government, Salvation Army, and Bendigo bank. Donating here will put money towards local charities which will provide practical relief and recovery to families and communities who have been affected by the fires.

If you want to help feed evacuees and first responders during the crisis, consider donating to the Salvation Army Emergency Services. Volunteers are working at various evacuation shelters providing meals to evacuees and first responders. 


For those who have a soft spot for the wildlife and animals who have lost their habitat or who have suffered due to the fires, check out some of these animal rescue agencies.

The B.C. SPCA recommends contributing to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Australia, one of the most prominent organizations overseeing animal well-being. During the fire, pets, livestock, wildlife and animal welfare hospitals have all been affected. Donating to them will help ensure animals are cared for now and in the coming months. Click here to check out their website and choose to donate your money to branches in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.

Vets Beyond Borders is comprised of volunteer vets, animal nurses and other animal welfare professionals who deliver life-saving medical care to affected animals. Although this is a global organization, you can donate directly to their efforts during the Australian bushfires.

Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc., better known as WIRES, reports an estimated 800 million animals have been affected by this fire. Lack of food, water and destruction of habitat have led to thousands of WIRES rescues in Australia.


WILDLIFE RESCUE ALERT With communication so difficult at this time there will be areas where we cannot get local rescue alerts out to our volunteers. Where alerts are received it may still be impossible for any volunteers to safely respond. In many areas, particularly the South Coast, communication is currently a massive issue. Power outages have knocked out phones and made it impossible to recharge devices and with many telecommunications towers being impacted, many areas also have no or limited mobile reception. In addition many volunteers have either had to evacuate or may need to evacuate their properties. For all community members in fire affected areas, particularly those on the South Coast at this time, please read further emergency advice on our blog at as a guideline to assist any wildlife in need that you find over the next few days. #australiaburns #bushfiresaustralia #wireswildliferescue #wildliferescuealert

A post shared by WIRES Wildlife Rescue (@wireswildliferescue) on

Another state hit hard by the fires is Victoria. Wildlife Victoria oversees veterinary care of animals displaced, injured or orphaned by the fires. Their website notes they have been overwhelmed with donated items, and they recommend sending funds as the most beneficial way to make an impact.

After major fires, much of the earth becomes charcoal. In addition to helping with wildlife, the World Wildlife Federation works to restore and protect the lands these animals call home. This is a great charity to choose if you want to help wildlife and the environment. Donating here will help to bring life back to the barren lands, and works to restore and protect the Australian environment.


The first responders on scene have come from around the world to help with the Australian fires, and you too can help out by donating cash so they can purchase equipment and other resources.

New South Wales Rural Fire Service oversees operations in fire ridden areas of the state. The service ensures that local community fire brigades have the resources they need to fight the blazes. You can donate to the state-wide rural fire service or individually to local fire departments working on battling these blazes by clicking here.

Donate to fire service in the next state over through the Victoria Country Fire Authority Bushfire Disaster Appeal, which works similarly to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service. The website will allow you to donate to the state’s fire services as a whole, to select a local brigade or to donate to the Volunteer Welfare Fund which offers grants to former and current volunteers.

Queensland, along the eastern coast of the country, is also ravaged by fires. Check out the state’s Rural Fire Brigades Association, which also lets you select local brigades to donate to.

Three volunteer firefighters have lost their lives during the crisis. Click here to support the young families of Samuel McPaul, Geoffrey Keaton and Andrew O'Dwyer.

If there is another charity you’ve found but you’re not too sure of its legitimacy, check out the Australian charity registry to confirm

If you want to donate but might not have the funds to do so, check out Givit, a website that will show you which charities need what. Some of the items include building materials and clothing, among plenty else.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

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