FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2019 file photo a firefighter controls a backburn near Mangrove Mountain, north of Sydney, Australia. U.S. officials said Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020 they are planning to send at least 100 more firefighters to Australia to join 159 already there battling blazes that have killed multiple people and destroyed thousands of homes. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft,File)

DiCaprio’s Earth Alliance gives $3M to Australia fire relief

Foundation announces Australia Wildfire Fund

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Earth Alliance environmental organization will donate $3 million to help wildfire relief efforts in Australia.

The foundation said Thursday that it has started the Australia Wildfire Fund to help with an “international response to the catastrophic bushfires” currently raging in the country.

The wildfires have scorched an area twice the size of the U.S. state of Maryland, killed at least 25 people and destroyed 2,000 homes. The fires, fueled by drought and the country’s hottest and driest year on record, have been raging since September, months earlier than is typical for Australia’s annual wildfire season.

The Academy Award-winning actor serves as Earth Alliance’s co-chair along with philanthropists Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth. The organization was launched last year to combat climate change and biodiversity loss.

ALSO READ: 2 Aussie wildfires merge into inferno; man seriously burned

The fund will work with local Australian partner organizations including Aussie Ark, Bush Heritage, and Wires Wildlife Rescue.

DiCaprio joins a growing list of other celebrities that have rallied to donate big bucks. Australian actor Chris Hemsworth and Elton John who each offered $1 million through social media earlier this week.

Nicole Kidman, Pink and Keith Urban have donated as well.

Metallica said they will donation $750,000 to a firefighting agency and emergency services agency in Victoria. Phoebe Waller-Bridge said at the Golden Globes on Sunday that she would auction off her Globe outfit and have the proceeds go to firefighter relief.

Jonathan Landrum Jr., The Associated Press

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