Sydney: A team of firefighters from the US got a hero’s welcome on Thursday as they arrived in Australia to help battle one of the worst bushfires that the country has ever seen. Passengers at the Sydney international airport clapped and cheered for the American firefighters, the video of which is now going viral on social media.
Commissioner of the New South Wales Shane Fitzsimmons shared the heartwarming video on Twitter and wrote, “Coming through, all gathered gave a spontaneous & lengthy round of applause, reflecting the gratitude & admiration we all have for their generosity.”
The video has received more than 7 million views on Twitter.
Seventy-one firefighters from the US and Canada arrived this week to help with firefighting efforts and they will assist the Victoria Rural Fire Service, the largest fire service in the Australian state of Victoria.
So far, 95 Canadians and 159 Americans have been sent to Australia to help. Moved by the gesture, earlier this week Prime Minister Scott Morrison thanked US President Donald Trump for his “strong messages of sympathy, support and friendship for Australia”.
The move comes in response to Australia’s gesture in 2018, when the country had sent their own teams of firefighters to California to help fight a series of blazes that had erupted across the state.
The U.S., Australia and New Zealand have been exchanging fire assistance for more than 15 years.
People on the internet were overwhelmed by this gesture and thanked the firefighters:
Since September, high temperatures and dry conditions have fueled the blazes, which have so far burned through more than 25 million acres of land. 27 people have been killed and ecologists estimate more than a billion animals have died as a result of the fires.