Sydney Opera House thanks Australian firefighters with illuminated tribute

Sydney Opera House thanks Australian firefighters with illuminated tribute
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Australia's iconic Sydney Opera House was illuminated Saturday in honor of firefighters battling deadly wildfires raging down the country's eastern coast.

Photos posted by the Sydney Opera House's Twitter account showed the landmark lit up with images of firefighters as well as messages of support written by thankful Australians.

"We want to send a message of hope and strength, and importantly to thank the emergency services and volunteers for their incredible efforts and courage," the opera house tweeted.

CNN reported that the opera house plans to host a comedy gala event in March to benefit communities hit hardest by the fires.

Australia's government has blamed a lightning storm for sparking more than 200 wildfires in the past month as the country faces record-high summer temperatures in the 100-degree range.

Experts say the blazes, which have killed at least 27 people, are exacerbated by climate change. As many as 1 billion animals are thought to have been killed so far across the country in the fires.