Australia thanks firefighters with Times Square billboard

Australia thanks firefighters with Times Square billboard

An Australian firefighting service has used a 21m billboard in New York's Times Square to thank their local and American volunteers.

Mammoth fires which ravaged New South Wales state were finally declared "contained" last week in an end to the worst bushfire season on record. But at least seven firefighters were killed in the state, including three US crew.

The NSW Rural Fire Service said it had received an "incredible response" this season from helpers and the public. Close to 90% of the firefighters battling the blazes this season had been volunteers.

"We wanted to say 'thank you' in the biggest way possible and take our message to the world," BBC cited the service as saying.

"Imagine fighting a bushfire higher than this billboard," the sign reads. "Thank you to the brave Australian and US firefighters defending Australia. And to the world for your support."

The thank you message was run on a billboard donated by the advertising company which owns it, the service said.

Serious blazes were also seen in every other Australian state and territory this summer. At least 33 people died nationwide. The unprecedented scale, frequency and intensity of the fires this year is the result of climate change, scientists say.

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Vestnik Kavkaza

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