Summer in Australia has been a particularly brutal one, especially in New South Wales, Victoria and now Kangaroo Island in South Australia. We have seen over 10 million hectares (24.7 million acres) of National Parks and bushland burnt in one of the most ferocious bushfires our country has ever seen. To date, we have tragically lost 28 lives; those attempting to defend their homes, those fleeing from the fires, and those who were heroically and voluntarily fighting the fires themselves. Thousands of homes have been lost, and thousands of holiday makers and residents were left stranded as they were surrounded by the fires. We have seen navy ships rescue those who were stranded and army deployed to help on the ground. Our volunteer fire fighters from the CFA (Country Fire Authority) in Victoria, the RFS (Rural Fire Service) in New South Wales, the CFS (Country Fire Service) in South Australia have been working tirelessly for months, many of whom have taken time away from their own families and their jobs to help in the fight.

The devastation reaches far beyond anything we can truly comprehend. To me, I personally find the loss of our precious wildlife the most heartbreaking of all.  It is estimated that over half a billion (500 million) of our native wildlife have died in the fires. The images that are being televised daily and in the newspapers are truly gut wrenching. I think we have all seen the images of helpless koalas, singed paws and ears, desperately clutching at bottles of water offered to them by firefighters and wildlife rescuers. The images of these poor animals burnt so badly that many haven’t survived and those that have, face a journey that no animal should have to. It’s not just the koalas that we have lost, it’s the kangaroos, wombats, echidnas, possums, flying-foxes, sugar gliders, and of course reptiles such as lizards, snakes and goannas - I cannot possibly list every species of animal that has been tragically lost to these fires.

I don’t want to get political here, I really don’t think this is the right time as our energy is far better spent helping those affected by the fires and doing something a little more productive. The time will come for politicians to act and I’m sure that changes will be made in time regarding our Government’s attitude to climate change, but for now, I want to do what I can as a photographer and an animal lover.

I have created an image that makes me get a lump in my throat every time I look at it. I asked my daughter Scarlett to help me create it, as I wanted to show how we are all feeling as we watch this beautiful country of ours suffer in such an insidious way as it burns out of control.

I have spent some time contemplating on what I would like to do to help, and whilst I have personally made donations and made some pouches for wildlife, I still feel that I would like to do more.

To show my support, for the months of January and February I will donate $100 from every session in my studio to Wildlife Victoria.

Australian fire season