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Australia fires: Thousands in Sydney for Fight Fire Australia concert

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People attend the Fire Fight Australia bushfire relief concert

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EPA

Thousands of Australians are attending a huge benefit concert in Sydney aiming to raise A$10m (£5.15m; $6.71m) to help communities devastated by bushfires.

Global acts like Queen and Alice Cooper have joined local stars like 5 Seconds of Summer, Tina Arena and Delta Goodrem for the Fire Fight Australia gig.

“As Aussies we bear together… because it turns out the people at the top don’t,” the host Celeste Barber said.

Recent fires have killed at least 33 people, destroying thousands of homes.

In the worst-hit state New South Wales, heavy rains have brought bushfires under control, but in the last few months more than 11 million hectares of land – an area comparable to the size of England – has been affected across all of Australia’s states and territories.

Australian singer Guy Sebastian performs during the Fire Fight Australia bushfire relief concert

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EPA

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Australian singer Guy Sebastian was one of dozens of performers supporting the fundraiser

The nation has always had a fire season, with naturally occurring blazes sparked during the dry summer, but this year’s has been unprecedented in the scale and intensity of the fires.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has come in for harsh criticism for its response to the disaster.

Australian singer Delta Goodrem performs

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EPA

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Australian singer Delta Goodrem took to the stage with the Australian National Flag

Host Celeste Barber

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EPA

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Actor Celeste Barber kicked off a Facebook fundraising campaign in January that has netted more than A$50m

Profits from the 10-hour event at Sydney Olympic Park will raise money for rural fire services, communities affected by bushfires and animal welfare.

Among those attending was Dalene George, a teacher from Bateman’s Bay, who told Reuters: “[I want to be] part of the people who helped to try and bring things back together and bring smiles. Yeah be part of that healing stuff that happens with community.”

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Media captionClimbing trees to save Kangaroo Island’s koalas

Another concert-goer, bank worker Karen Adams, said: “We’re in Sydney so we couldn’t even get down there to help, which was heartbreaking. And I work in a bank and so many families have lost everything so we’re here to support them all.”

Crowds at the concert

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AFP

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