Emotional firefighter holds his newborn son during break from tackling Australian bushfires
Every hour, the ongoing bushfires in Australia are resulting in more and more devastating news for the country, and the world as a whole.
Per CNN, 2,700 firefighters are currently battling the blazes, with The Australia Defence Force saying on Sunday that it had called 3,000 army reserve forces and others with specialist capabilities to help fight the flames.
As of Sunday, three firefighters have lost their lives, with a funeral held earlier today for NSW RFS volunteer Andrew O’Dwyer, who died when his truck overturned while fighting fires before Christmas, the Guardian reports.
And civilians are also doing their party to help those in need:
However, despite the relentless danger these brave individuals are putting themselves in, there are some rays of light that can be celebrated.
Per the Daily Mail, a volunteer firefighter by the name of Beau Haines was recently able to celebrate the birth of his newborn son Spencer, who was born on Christmas Eve.
The heartwarming photos were taken by friend, photographer, and fellow volunteer firefighter Kurt Hickling.
Writing on his photography Facebook page, Hickling wrote:
"Today we did a very special newborn shoot at the Kiewa fire station.
"We captured this photo of baby Spencer and his dad Beau who has fought blazes in N.S.W and Vic over the last few weeks.
"We want to dedicate this photo to all the men and women who are tirelessly battling these blazes to preserve and protect property and lives.
"Nothing is more uplifting than a firefighter returning home safely to their families."
Hickling accompanied the post #notallheroswearcapes
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Hickling revealed that the photo shoot was one of the longest periods of time the first-time father had been able to spend with his son. He said:
"Beau and Cassie wanted a newborn shoot but it was hard to pin down a time because we all kept getting deployed,' the photographer explained.
"It all just came together about a week after Spencer was born.
"Beau was back in town and we had the idea of doing it at the fire station."
Soon after the photo shoot was over, Mr Haines was sent back out to fight the fires.
This incredible border collie also saved an entire flock of sheep from a wall of fire:
Mr Hickling, from Chiltern in northeast Victoria, currently runs the photography business with his wife Charlyne, and revealed how the pictures brought a tear to his eye:
"We wanted to highlight how hard it is for firefighters to be away from their families for so long and the sacrifices they make, and we were wrapped with the way it turned out.
"There's so much negativity around, but this is something positive. Firefighters are people too and they have families who are worried they won't come home.
"We really wanted to highlight that."
Congratulations to Beau and Cassie, and thank you to all the firefighters fighting the blazes across Australia.
If you would like to donate directly to the fire departments fighting the ongoing bushfires, please find the relevant information below:
How you can donate:
The NSW Rural Fire Service has multiple options for direct donations. You can donate to the RFS as a whole, or to specific brigades. You can donate through bank transfer, credit card or cheque.
For bank transfers, there is a set bank account (Account Name: NSW Rural Fire Service, BSB: 032-001, Account No: 171051). This account is for the RFS as a whole.
This link will take you to the landing page for credit card donations. You can donate to the RFS general fund or choose specific brigades from the dropdown box.
In Queensland, Fire and Rescue advise that you can donate both money and items through the website givit.org.au. The website allows fire-affected communities to list what they specifically need, from water tanks in Yeppoon to school uniforms in Zillmere.
In Victoria, the Country Fire Authority has two bank accounts - one for specific brigades and one for the general fund.
If you cannot find the particular brigade you are looking for, you can contact them directly.