Sydney Opera House illuminates sails in moving tribute to firefighters

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The sails of the Opera House are lit with a series of images to show support for the communities affected by the bushfires and to express the gratitude to the emergency services and volunteers in Sydney on January 11, 2020. Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images.

SYDNEY, Australia — The Sydney Opera House honored Australian firefighters over the weekend with a moving tribute.

For several hours on Saturday evening, the performing arts center illuminated its iconic sails with images of firefighters battling bushfires across the country.

One of the images was a simple, hand-painted sign that had heart shapes and read “THANK YOU FIRIES.”

“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 said on Twitter.

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service shared a video of the illuminated sails on Facebook.

“The famous sails of the Sydney Opera House have been lit up in a special tribute tonight,” the fire service said.

Australia is experiencing the worst fire season in its history. At least 27 people, including volunteer firefighters, have died since the fire season began in late July, more than 2,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged, and whole towns have been forced to evacuate.

The Sydney Opera House also said it will co-host a comedy gala fundraiser in March to benefit communities affected by the fires.

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