More than 10.7 million hectares of land have been burned so far in Australia’s wildfires, larger than the total area of South Korea or Portugal, and 1.3 times the size of Scotland.
The ongoing and unprecedented forest fire crisis has spread in six states and several months.
In New South Wales alone, the Gospers Mountain mega-fire, north of Sydney, has a size of 512,626 hectares, larger than Long Island and Manhattan together. Last week, fires in northeast Victoria merged with fires in the NSW Snowy Valley, creating a huge fire complex on the state border.
Here are nine images, before and after the fires, that show the devastation of one beach to another, from one farm to another, across New South Wales and southern Australia.
Many more fires are still burning, especially in eastern Victoria Gippsland and the south coast of New South Wales, and the full visual consequences will only be known when weather conditions improve.
Harrington, 60 km south of Port Macquarie, was hit by fire before summer began.
The north coast of New North Wales was the most affected in early November, when the fires killed four and destroyed hundreds of homes.
In Harrington, water-bombed planes threw bright pink fire retardants into homes after a fire in Crowdy Bay National Park threatened.
The fire in Crowdy Bay National Park grew to more than 12,000 hectares.
On the north central coast, up to 30% of the region’s koala habitat was destroyed in the fires, in which the New South Wales environment minister said he could have killed a third of the koalas population.
The coastal city of Forster, also on the north central coast, was surrounded by fires in November.
The Pacific Highway was cut south and Failford Road was cut north when residents gathered at the evacuation center of the Tuncurry bowling club.
Houses were also declared in immediate danger at nearby Wallabi Point when the 21,000-acre Hillville Road fire broke out at an emergency level.
In Nana Glen, near Coffs Harbor, actor Russell Crowe’s house was almost destroyed by fires in November.
At one point, the fire of the Path of Liberation grew to a perimeter of 1,000 km while burning through houses and properties.
Lenswood, Adelaide Hills
In Adelaide Hills, in southern Australia, the Cudlee Creek fire swept through the region in December, just days before Christmas.
In Lenswood, fires burned crops, vineyards and farms. Across the hills of Adelaide, more than 500 buildings were destroyed and one person killed.
Lobenthal and Charleston, Adelaide Hills
The nearby Lobenthal was also devastated, as the Cudlee Creek fire destroyed a total of 23,234 hectares.