Actor Chris Hemsworth donating $1M to fight Australian bush fires

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 30: Chris Hemsworth attends a preview of Tourism Australia’s latest campaign at Sydney Opera House on October 30, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)

BALMORAL, Australia (AP/WCMH) — Actor and native Australian Chris Hemsworth says he and his family will be donating $1 million to help fight the bush fires raging in the country.  

In a tweet, Hemsworth announced his contribution to fight the Australian bush fires, and asks for others to help anyway they can.  

“Every penny counts so whatever you can muster up is greatly appreciated,” Hemsworth tweeted along with a video asking for contributions.  

The fires, fueled by drought and the country’s hottest and driest year on record, have been raging since September, months earlier than is typical for Australia’s annual wildfire season. So far, the blazes have killed 25 people, destroyed 2,000 homes and scorched an area twice the size of the U.S. state of Maryland. Three people in New South Wales state who were reported missing earlier Tuesday were later found, police said.

Across New South Wales, 130 fires were still burning on Tuesday, around 50 of which were uncontrolled. The day’s cooler, rainier weather was providing thousands of weary firefighters a “psychological and emotional” reprieve as they scrambled to strengthen containment lines around the blazes before temperatures rise again, said Shane Fitzsimmons, commissioner of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service.

“It really is about shoring up protection to limit the damage potential and the outbreak of these fires over the coming days,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

The rain was not heavy enough to extinguish the blazes. Victoria state Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville said on Monday at least 200 millimeters (8 inches) of rain would need to fall in a short time to snuff out the fires — around 20 times what has fallen across the region in the past day. And officials warned that Australia’s wildfire season — which generally lasts through March — was nowhere near its end.

The rain was also complicating firefighters’ attempts to strategically backburn certain areas, and was making the ground slippery for fire trucks.

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