Sydney trims Christmas tree with bushfire debris in poignant reminder

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SYDNEY (Reuters) - A Christmas tree made from charred branches and other bushfire debris has been put up in Sydney’s central business district in a poignant reminder of deadly wildfires that have ravaged much of Australia.

The tree is made and decorated with burnt logs, a scorched bicycle, a ruined fire alarm and other destroyed household goods, surrounded by gifts wrapped in glittery red, silver and gold paper.

The fires have killed six people in New South Wales, of which Sydney is the capital, destroyed more than 700 homes destroyed and ravaged nearly 3 million acres (1.2 million hectares) of land.

Fire authorities said on Wednesday 99 fires were still burning.

Artist James Dive said the tree was a symbol of the shadow the disaster has cast over the festive season as well as the resilience of Australian communities.

“Going out there was probably the most impactful part of this whole process,” he told Reuters. “...I came back with sort of two impressions. One, was the scale of it. It really does hit you. The silence of it. No birds. Everything’s just left.

“But then, I suppose the other part too was seeing the resilience. I mean, seeing the Australian bush already bouncing back, like seed pods, everything opening up.”

The tree was created in partnership with the Red Cross and the City of Sydney.

Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Nick Macfie