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Wildfires in Ben Simmons’ home country weighing heavy on the star

Ben Simmons

The Australian wildfires have decimated the country’s wildlife and vegetation. Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons — who was born in Melbourne — posted a heartfelt message on Instagram on Friday lamenting the damage done by the fires while also offering support to the communities that have been misplaced or directly impacted by the spread:

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I’m so sad by the loss our country is currently facing. The images of the raging fires, people, families, firefighters and wildlife are nothing short of terrifying. 12 million acres of land destroyed, human lives lost, animals being wiped out and misplaced with homes and communities in ruins and this number continues to rise daily. I am working with my family and calling on my Australian NBA brothers and any others that can, to do our part to help in this catastrophic disaster, not just for today but to support communities in their eventual rebuild when the fires have stopped. Australia is a strong and resilient country and I urge you all to be brave, kind and compassionate to each other through this extremely hard time. 💚💛 🇦🇺

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The images are disturbing enough, but the numbers are more concerning.

According to Denise Chow of NBC News, more than 100 fires are still raging across the country even though the wildfire season has not yet reached its peak. Similarly, animals normally accustomed to such fires might be endangered due to sheer severity:

The country is grappling with some of the worst wildfires in its history. At least 12 million acres of land have already been scorched and more than 100 blazes are still active — and the season has yet to reach its peak.

The blazes threaten to reshape Australia’s ecology even in places where plants and animals have adapted to yearly fires.

“If species are adapted to one set of climatic conditions and are now being forced to regenerate in climatic conditions that are very different, it’s going to be a lot harder to come back,” said Camille Stevens-Rumann, an ecologist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, who focuses her research on how ecosystems recover after major disturbances.

Ben Simmons spent his entire childhood in Australia. He did not move to the United States until January of 2013, so he still has close ties to his native country.

Needless to say, Simmons and fellow Australians throughout the NBA will be looking for any opportunity to provide aid or assistance of any kind as the whole country faces the fight of their lives.