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NSW Rural Fire Service takes out ad in New York's Times Square to thank Australia's firefighters

The 15-second installation transforms Times Square’s usual bright lights into a to-scale fire front.

Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) Rural Fire Service has taken over New York City’s Times Square to thank firefighters for fighting the bushfires back home through a donated billboard.

The bushfires started in June 2019 and have already burned more than 10.7 million hectares (26m acres), killed almost a billion animals, destroyed over 5,900 homes and buildings, and claimed 29 lives.

The billboard, created by Wunderman Thompson and donated by Silvercast, the 77-foot ‘Godzilla’ billboard is intended to send a message of thanks to all the firefighters and those who support them around the world.

The 15-second installation transforms Times Square’s usual bright lights into a to-scale fire front.

Engulfing in flames, the 20 metre-high digital billboard reveals the words: “Imagine fighting a bush fire higher than this billboard. Thank you to the brave Australian and US firefighters defending Australia. And to the world for all your support.”

“We’ve seen incredible support from all areas – from individuals, big corporations, our overseas firefighting partners and the community, so when we were offered this free ad space we thought it was a chance to return the favour and say ‘thanks’,” said Anthony Clark, the director of corporate communications at NSW Rural Fire Service.

“The support has been amazing – it’s a small sign of gratitude on a big scale.”

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