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Thousands sign petition to cancel fireworks in Sydney amid bush fires

Thousands sign petition to cancel fireworks in Sydney amid bush fires
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More than 250,000 people have signed a petition calling for the cancellation of Sydney, Australia’s annual New Year’s Eve fireworks in the wake of recent fires that have devastated the country and continue to threaten the city, according to the BBC.

Signers are calling on the city government to use the money that would go to the fireworks display—about $4 million— and put it towards fighting the fires, adding that the display “may traumatize some people” who are dealing with “enough smoke in the air,” according to the BBC.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the fireworks would not be cancelled despite her “deep sympathies” with the signers, saying the money had already been spent.

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"We can't cancel the fireworks and even if we could, doing so would have little practical benefit," she wrote on the petition’s website.

New South Wales, the state where Sydney is located, has been particularly impacted by a series of severe bushfires raging across the country amid drought and extreme temperatures. New South Wales has seen nearly 100 fires, and the town of Balmoral, to the southwest of Sydney, has been mostly destroyed by the blazes.

Government officials said earlier this week that the fires may have killed up to 30 percent of New South Wales’ koala population.