Australia is in the midst of one of the worst bushfire crises the world has seen. Since September, entire communities have been engulfed by relentless heat and fires. The flames are showing no signs of slowing down - which means only one thing... death tolls are rising.
Many firefighters have risked their lives to battle the blazes, with a handful even losing their lives.
The son of one of the firefighters who tragically died in the fires has received a bravery medal in his honor and the photos will break your heart (but not before they melt it).
Australia is being ravished by one of the worst bush fire crises the world has seen in decades.
New South Wales is suffering immensely at the moment.
via: Getty ImagesThere have been fires reported in every state, but New South Wales is truly taking a beating by bush fires and is undoubtedly the hardest hit. According to CNN, so far, in New South Wales alone, more than 900 houses have been destroyed.
NSW declared a state of emergency last month.
via: Getty ImagesWhat does this mean? Well, it grants "extraordinary powers" to the NSWRFS commissioner, including the authority to allocate government resources and direct government agencies in taking action, according to CNN.
The raging fires have had a devastating impact...
17 people have been confirmed to have died in the fires since they started...
via: Getty ImagesWhich is a tragic and terrible loss for the communities in Australia.
And it's not just the flames themselves that are having deadly consequences...
via: Getty ImagesLast month, the smoke was so bad in Sydney that air quality measured 11 times the "hazardous" level, CNN reports.
Australia has even been forced to make a global call for help...
via: Getty ImagesAnd it was Canada that was the first to respond and take action. The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, based in Winnipeg, answered the call for help after realizing the bush fire situation is expected to continue for many more weeks and gave up their Christmas to help fight the raging fires.
The Australian fire services have been stretched to their limits.Firefighters all over the country have been tirelessly battling the formidable blazes and are struggling to contain them. Keep scrolling to see the heartbreaking pictures of the aftermath.
Other countries offered their assistance...
via: Getty ImagesIncluding the US and New Zealand, who have sent in more firefighters to try and help tackles the blazes.
But even with assistance from overseas...
welcome to 2020. Australia is literally burning. 4,000 people have fled to Mallacoota beach as a bushfire bears dow… https://t.co/2H0VUuWWAp— Tom Warren (@Tom Warren)1577768890.0
How long could the fires actually be burning for?
via: Getty ImagesSadly, Australia has only just entered summer, meaning temperatures could remain high for some weeks. In fact, temperatures usually reach their highest during January and February, so there may be no end in sight for months.
This is an awful amount of pressure on the firefighters continuously tackling the blazes...
via: Getty ImagesAnd it has proven to be too much for some.
2 volunteer firefighters lost their lives on duty 2 weeks ago...
via: Getty ImagesDeputy Captain Geoffrey Keaton and firefighter Andrew O'Dwyer, both from Horsley Park Brigade, tragically died when the truck they were in hit a tree and rolled off the road on December 19 in Sydney's southwest.
A service was held for the fallen firefighters...
via: NSW RFSNew South Wales Rural Fire Service held the service earlier this week, which was attended by Mr. Keaton's fiancee Jess Hayes, and young son, Harvey, as well as the RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons and the Australian Prime Minister.
The service was extremely emotional...
via: NSW RFSAnd a beautiful tribute was paid to the 2 brave men who were trying their best to help their country.
A touching photo has been released by the NSW RFS...
via: NSW RFSMr. Keaton's young son, Harvey, was awarded a medal of honor - a posthumous Commissioner's Commendation for Bravery and a Commissioner's Commendation for Service - to commemorate his late father.
Mr. Keaton truly deserves this honor.
via: Getty Images
They will never be forgotten.
via: Getty Images"Their sacrifice and service saving lives and saving properties will be forever remembered. I wish those injured all the best in their recovery," he went on to say.
All we can do is hope that the fires will begin to dwindle.
via: Getty ImagesRIP to the fallen firefighters of Australia, and we send our condolences and love to all of those affected by this terrible crisis.