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Australian Teens Are Using TikTok To Show The World How Bad The Bushfires Are

Millions around the world are watching Australia burn on TikTok.

Taylor, 19, was studying for her university exams when she started to wonder if she should put together a fire escape plan.

The view from her home in Wollongong on Australia's east coast was of an apocalyptic horizon caused by the raging bushfires that had already claimed the lives of three Australians and destroyed hundreds of homes.

Luckily for Taylor, who lives in one of regions that was labelled at a "catastrophic" level of danger on Tuesday, the most ferocious fires were burning well north of her home.

Later that night, she uploaded a video to TikTok that combined her footage of the shocking red sky with pictures of koalas receiving medical attention for burns, firefighters battling the blazes, and a map with locations of the hundreds of fires.

Taylor overlaid her TikTok video with four words: "Australia is on fire". Before too long, thousands of users from around the world flooded the video's comments with messages of shock and concern.

Australian TikTokers are using the short video platform to share breathtaking images and videos of the fires ravaging Australia with an international audience.

A number of accounts have also been specifically created to spread safety information to people who are at risk from the fires in New South Wales and Queensland.

Accounts like @dangertiktok1616, @aussie_.._check and @fire514 have posted videos with advice such as the location of the fires and how to drive appropriately when emergency vehicles need to pass by.

Tahlia Moffitt didn't expect that a global audience of more than a million people would view her bushfire video filmed in Port Macquarie, right in the centre of the worst-affected region in New South Wales.

"The response was crazy," Moffitt wrote to BuzzFeed News. "Half the comments were sending their thoughts and prayers and also talking about the fires around Australia. The other half were saying it's fake or were internet trolls making jokes."

Christine didn't expect a big reaction from her video either but said it makes sense that people are interested.

"It's a massive issue in Australia right now," Christine said about the reason behind posting the video. "It's worked. People are enjoying them and my TikToks have created a forum for everyone to wish for others' safety."

Unlike the Australian politicians who don't want to talk about climate change while the bushfires burn, saying it's not the right time, Australian teens are more than happy to sound the alarm.

Taylor wanted to show the "real world effects" of climate change in her video, and hopes international audiences will pay attention because addressing climate change requires a global solution.

16-year-old Kaiden has channelled his frustration about the fires into making TikTok videos. He said it's his way of trying to make change.

"So many politicians are ignoring the issue," he said to BuzzFeed News. "The change of climate as well as the government's ineffective approach to fire prevention has had disastrous effects."

"I've made another TikTok urging others to donate and supplied them with links."

Even though most users are focusing on the seriousness of the bushfires, some, like 19-year-old Yannie, have tried to find the humour in the situation.

"I just wanted to make light of a situation that was affecting so many people," Yannie said. "I think quite a few people related to it as well as there's not much we could do really, especially when you're in in the danger zone like I was."

Her most recent TikTok? A video of herself ignoring options like "bushfire", "smoke", "listening to the news" and "evacuating" in favour of "making TikTok videos".

Cameron Wilson is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Cameron Wilson at cameron.wilson@buzzfeed.com.

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