Leonardo DiCaprio's Earth Alliance gives $4 million to Australia fire relief

Leonardo DiCaprio's Earth Alliance started the Australia Wildfire Fund to help with an "international response to the catastrophic bush fires" currently raging in the country.
Leonardo DiCaprio's Earth Alliance started the Australia Wildfire Fund to help with an "international response to the catastrophic bush fires" currently raging in the country.PHOTOS: AP/INVASION, REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Leonardo DiCaprio's Earth Alliance environmental organisation will donate US$3 million (S$4 million) to help wildfire relief efforts in Australia.

The foundation said on Thursday (Jan 9) that it has started the Australia Wildfire Fund to help with an "international response to the catastrophic bush fires" currently raging in the country.

The wildfires have scorched an area twice the size of the US state of Maryland, killed at least 25 people and destroyed 2,000 homes. The fires, fuelled 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 organisation was launched last year to combat climate change and biodiversity loss.

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

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

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

Metallica said they will donate US$750,000 to a firefighting agency and emergency services agency in Victoria. Phoebe Waller-Bridge plans to auction off her Golden Globes outfit and have the proceeds go to firefighter relief.