Graph reveals bushfire ‘silver lining’
Australians want to do more than donate money to bushfire efforts with many looking for ways they can be on the front line of bushfire relief.
According to data from job search engine Indeed, there has been a record number of searches for fire-related jobs since the bushfires started.
Indeed's APAC economist Callam Pickering said the unprecedented bushfire season had left many Aussies feeling helpless.
"Many have responded by donating money or food or shelter, while others want to be on the front line, face-to-face with the fires that have devastated the Australian countryside," he said.
Mr Pickering said the data showed that Australians wanted to help, with many searching directly for jobs as firefighters or for the Rural Fire Service.
"Searches for fire-related jobs are up 50 per cent since Christmas and 80 per cent since November," he said.
Fire-related jobs include roles such as firefighter and fire engineer and direct searches for Rural Fire Service, with the data analysed daily.
Mr Pickering said while the data was positive, many of the jobseekers would not be able to help the efforts this bushfire season.
"Volunteer firefighters are highly skilled and well trained so while it's much too late to train volunteers and get them on the front lines to fight these fires, record interest may pave the way for a greater number of volunteers next year and beyond," he said.
Mr Pickering said the jobseekers' response had been heightened by the severity of the fires and showed that Aussies wanted to help.
"During a period of crisis, Australians want to help," he said.
"We band together to support those affected in any way we can."
It's not just Australians who have been looking to help firefighting efforts.
Firefighters from the United States and Canada arrived in early January to assist state authorities.
The United States sent over 81 firefighters after Australia previously sent our own volunteers to help fight fires in the northern hemisphere.
As of last week, there were 95 Canadian specialists assisting in the incident command system but many more were offering to volunteer.
In fact, the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre had to issue a release requesting volunteer firefighters not to contact them asking how they could help.
"While many Canadians, both home and abroad, have expressed their desire to help with the Australian wildfires, please be advised that there is not currently a role for Canadian volunteers to assist in bushfire suppression," their website states.
"The Canadian specialists deployed to Australia are chosen by the member agencies based on their specific expertise and abilities in the respective areas of work."
Meanwhile, neighbouring New Zealand, which has felt the impact of the Australian bushfires, has also sent over a cohort of firefighters.
Twenty-one New Zealand firefighters arrived in New South Wales this week, taking the total number of Kiwi crew members sent to Australia to 179.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wrote a heartfelt post on her Instagram account where she pledged to stand by Australia.
View this post on Instagram
Even before we saw the smoke from the fires across the ditch, I know we were already thinking of our friends and neighbours in Australia. It’s been devastating to watch from afar, I can only imagine what it feels like to experience it directly. Next week New Zealand will send another team of 22 firefighters and logistical support to join the rotation of more than 150 kiwis that we have had working alongside our Australian counterparts since October. I’ve been in contact with the Australian PM again this week to share our support and to offer whatever we can to help. Australia stood by us through some horrific moments in 2019, and we’re here to do the same.
Ms Ardern also confirmed that more than 150 Kiwis had been working with rural firefighting services since October 2019.