Human Interest How to Help Australian Fire Victims and the Half a Billion Animals Impacted by the Blazes More than 130 fires continue to burn across New South Wales and Victoria By Georgia Slater Georgia Slater Twitter Georgia Slater is a writer/reporter on the Parents team at PEOPLE. People Editorial Guidelines Published on January 4, 2020 01:00 PM Share Tweet Pin Email The horrific brushfires in Southern Australia are still raging on — displacing thousands of people, wiping out millions of acres and destroying hundreds of homes and buildings. The brushfire crisis has claimed the lives of at least 17 people and burned through more than 11 million acres since it sparked in September. A seven-day state of emergency was declared on Dec. 23. As the more than 130 fires continue to burn across New South Wales and Victoria, ecologists from the University of Sydney believe almost half a billion total mammals, birds and reptiles have died since September. With strong winds and high temperatures expected to come in, officials are warning residents that they could create incredibly dangerous conditions — even worse than past weeks — and mandating that they evacuate. Here’s where you can donate to help the victims of the fires during this devastating time. Fires in Sydney, Australia. David Gray/Getty NSW Rural Fire Service Any donations made toward the NSW Rural Fire Service will directly benefit volunteer firefighters in North and South Wales helping to put out the ravaging blazes. Specific brigades can also be selected upon the time of donation. Australian Red Cross Donations to the Australian Red Cross will help with relief efforts to displaced residents. The recovery fund helps with the upkeep of evacuations centers and recovery programs for those in need. Australian Firefighters Who Died ‘Bravely Defending’ Communities Were New Dads & Close Friends World Wildlife Fund Money given to the World Wildlife Fund will help to restore homes and support the injured wildlife in Australia, particularly koalas. Donations will go toward conservation efforts as over 95 percent of koalas are now gone, according to WWF. Nathan Edwards/Getty RSPCA Bushfire Appeal Donations to the appeal will help keep RSPCA inspectors available to respond to emergencies and help animals in need evacuate disaster zones. Money given to the fund will help to protect pets, livestock and other wildlife impacted by the blazes. Half a Billion Animals, Including 8,000 Koalas, Feared Dead from Devastating Australian Wildfires The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital Part of the heartbreaking count of dead animals includes 8,000 koalas from New South Wales, which equates to a third of the region’s entire koala population. That figure is expected to increase as the fires worsen throughout the week. Koalas have reportedly been hit the hardest due to their slow-moving nature and the fact they only eat eucalyptus tree leaves which are comprised of oil, making them highly flammable. That’s why this koala hospital created a GoFundMe page at the end of October, which has already raised nearly $3 million. By contributing to the page, experts can help to protect more koalas in the area. Salvation Army Donations will assist in providing meals to evacuees and responders and helping affected communities get back on their feet. The organization has people on the ground providing food and water as well as emotional support. RELATED VIDEO: Mob of Kangaroos Rush to Escape Fires Raging in Southern Australia GIVIT This non-for-profit website helps supporters donate goods or money to then pass on to victims in need. There are lists provided on the website for donors to see which items are most needed. St. Vincent de Paul Society Donations to this society will help provide food and clothing to victims, as well as a way to cover their bills and costs for rebuilding a home.