On her Instagram story on Sunday afternoon, Barber said she had spoken to people within the RFS who said they were overwhelmed, and that the international support was giving them “a bit of positivity in the terror”.
She has said the funds raised, initially for the NSW RFS, will also be distributed to Victoria and South Australia, the Red Cross and families of those killed in the fires, to be decided in consultation with NSW RFS.
Barber shared to her story a video of her mother-in-law Joy Robin talking to media on the wharf in Eden, criticising the government’s response to the fires.
“This is our war, this fire is Australia’s war,” she said. “They’ve just left us high and dry so many times. We’ve been abandoned, I’m not feeling [abandoned], I’ve been abandoned.”
As fires continue to destroy large areas of the country, celebrities internationally have used their platforms to express sympathy and encourage donations for those affected by the blazes.
Ellen DeGeneres wrote on Twitter that it was “impossible to understand the size and destruction of the fires”.
On Sunday morning, actor Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban contributed $500,000 to various Rural Fire Services, and encouraged others to do so.
Dozens of celebrities, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Greta Thunberg, Bette Midler, Selena Gomez, One Direction’s Liam Payne, P!nk, Miranda Kerr and Jameela Jamil are among those expressing their support on social media for communities affected by the fires, and criticising failures to address climate change.
American singer Lizzo, on tour in Australia, in a video to her Instagram story holding a toy koala while in Brisbane, said being in Australia had given her a “real time view” of the bushfires.
“This is a global crisis, I don’t want to politicise anything. This isn’t a political issue at this point, this is a human issue. The CO2 emissions that are being created from this fire are staggering, and it affects the world,” Lizzo said.
“This is our neighbourhood, we share this [world].”
Lizzo urged her followers to donate to Celeste Barber’s fundraiser, WWF and the Red Cross and said: “If you don’t have the money to donate, caring and awareness is so important.”
Sharing a video recording the noises of the bushland from a previous holiday to Byron Bay, Australian actress Naomi Watts described the fires as “upsetting and worrying”.
“Big gratitude to the brave firemen who literally haven’t stopped during the holidays! Heartbroken for all the animals, plants and land,” she wrote on Instagram.
Various members of the royal family issued separate statements on the Australian bushfires earlier on Sunday, ranging from expressions of “thoughts and prayers” to a stark call to arms about climate change.