Queen guitarist Brian May has expressed his shock at the extent of the Australian bush fires ahead of the band's headlining spot at a fundraising concert in Sydney next month.
The long-time environmentalist and animal-rights campaigner is shocked at the extent of the tragedy that has claimed 27 lives and wiped out more than a billion wild animals.
The 72-year-old was also aware parts of New Zealand had been affected by smoke drifting across the Tasman and was concerned about the extent of damage to the glaciers near the Southern Alps.
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"I did hear and it's actually blackening the glaciers," May told TimeOut.
"It's frightening. What a terrible tragedy that is. It's appalling. I'm so sorry, it makes me so sad.
"The world is dealing with [environmental disasters] sooner than expected. That's the truth and it's a terrible shock. Unfortunately it's too late to save so many people and especially animals.
"Can that really be true? A billion animals? It's just appalling beyond belief. It's a tragedy beyond measure, isn't it?"
Queen and Adam Lambert will bring The Rhapsody Tour Down Under for three New Zealand shows in Wellington, Auckland and Dunedin in early February.
May is looking forward to finally seeing more of the country and performing in the nation's capital and South Island for the first time.
"I'm excited because this is the first New Zealand tour," he said.
"We've always come to Auckland, we've never toured. We're doing Dunedin and Wellington and I'm excited.
"I've never seen these places and at my time of life I like that. It's nice to find places you haven't walked before."
The British rockers will then head across the Tasman, where they will perform at Fire Fight Australia, a one-off show to raise money for bush fire relief at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on February 16.
The star-studded line-up also features the likes of Alice Cooper, k.d lang, Olivia Newton-John and John Farnham.
Meanwhile, May is trying to do his bit to help the planet by embracing a plant-based diet as part of the Veganuary Challenge.
He feels solutions to environmental problems lie in individuals accepting responsibility for their actions but realises it takes time to create meaningful change.
"Yes, I have been shouting for a long time. I don't tend to shout much anymore, I tend to just keep on speaking.
"But you have to just engage people all the time in conversation and re-evaluating their behaviour.
"I count myself in that because I wasn't a vegan until the first of January this year. And I am for this month and we'll see how things go.
"But it's bothered me for a long time that I wasn't a vegan, being an animal activist."