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Apple to donate to Australian bush fire relief efforts

Source: AP via NPR

Apple will donate funds to ongoing relief efforts in Australia, where a dangerous combination of record temperatures, high winds and drought over the past two months set the stage for dozens of devastating bush fires.

Apple CEO Tim Cook in a tweet on Thursday extended sympathy to Australians impacted by the more than 100 fires that pock mark the landscape in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.

"Our hearts are with those impacted by the Australian bushfires and with the courageous volunteer force fighting the unprecedented blazes across the country— please stay safe," Cook said in a tweet. "Apple will be donating to support relief efforts."

Cook did not specify how Apple will contribute, though the company has in the past donated funds to local non-profits and emergency service organizations during similar situations.

Australian firefighting agencies are currently battling a series of blazes across multiple states, a collective conflagration thought to be among the worst on record. The fires, sparked by extreme seasonal weather conditions, have destroyed towns, millions of acres of land and claimed the lives of at least nine people.

Australia's bush fires are taking a toll on local fauna, with recent reports estimating the decimation of some 30% of NSW's koala population.

The country declared a national emergency last week. Federal and state firefighters from the U.S. were sent to Australia to assist in quelling the wild fires this week.

Apple commonly responds to catastrophes and natural disasters with financial aid. In 2018 the company provided $1 million contributions for victims of the Kerala floods in India, relief efforts following the Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, and Red Cross activity after the California wild fires and Hurricane Florence. Apple last donated to an emergency relief effort during this year's bout of California wild fires in October.