AUSTRALIA (WFLA/CNN) – The New South Wales government used helicopters and airplanes to feed starving animals as bushfires continue to devastate Australia, the Daily Mail reports.
The government reportedly dropped 4,850 pounds of sweet potatoes and carrots to feed large groups of brush-tailed rock wallabies stranded by the fire.
Park service officials dropped food in multiple national parks as part of Operation Rock Wallaby.
New South Wales Environment Minister Matt Kean said the wallabies are left stranded after the natural vegetation in their habitat is destroyed.
More than a dozen deaths already confirmed nationwide, and hundreds of structures have been destroyed.
Koala populations are also at risk, and a large portion may have died in the wildfires.
Sussan Ley, the federal environment minister, Friday that up to 30% may have been killed in the bush fires in New South Wales.
She says wildfires have torched up to 30% of their habitat.
According to the Australia zoo, there were only about 40,000 to 100,000 koalas remaining after “uncontrolled habitat destruction.”
The animals are now considered endangered.
Every state in Australia has been scorched, but New South Wales has seen the worst of the blazes.
Some of the firefighters who were on the south coast of New South Wales got caught in a situation that could have turned fatal.
“When we were in there, in the thick of it, we thought that this could be it,” said Deputy Capt. Jasper Croft with New South Wales Fire and Rescue.
Eventually, the crew decided to abandon its firetruck and flee.
“It had got to a point where it was too dangerous to remain in the vehicle,” Deputy Capt. Kayle Barton with New South Wales Fire and Rescue.
More than 2,000 firefighters are on the ground in New South Wales alone, and other countries, including the US and Canada have sent firefighters to help.
And it may be a while before things are eased. Australia is just starting its summer season.
Temperatures there usually peak in January and February.
“It’s just a whirlwind you just do what you have to do to survive, I guess,” a resident said.