WORLD NEWS
01/08/2020 15:40 EST | Updated 01/09/2020 17:57 EST

Dramatic Images From Australia's Fires Show The Country's Incredible Suffering

The wildfires, fueled by drought and record high temperatures, have burned an area twice the size of the U.S. state of Maryland.

Destruction and desperation are among the stirring sights captured in photos from Australia where one of the worst bushfire seasons on record continues to ravage wide swaths of the continent, taking homes, buildings and dozens of human lives with it.  

The wildfires, fueled by drought and record high temperatures, have consumed an area twice the size of the U.S. state of Maryland, according to this week’s latest figures. Within that destruction, 2,000 homes have been lost and 25 people killed. The number of animals killed is estimated as more than one billion.

Here are a few images capturing the ongoing struggle and rescue efforts. 

Fairfax Media via Getty Images
MALLACOOTA, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 02: (AUSTRALIA OUT): People stranded in Mallacoota, Victoria are evacuated by army personnel to the HMAS Choules after bushfires ravaged the town on December 30th on January 3, 2020 in Mallacoota, Victoria, Australia. (Photo by Justin McManus/The Age/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)

People stranded in the town of Mallacoota in the state of Victoria are evacuated by Army personnel to a ship after fires ravaged the area.

REUTERS

Jesse Collins, an organizer of donations for those afflicted by the fires, breaks down while discussing the relief efforts at an evacuation center in Cobargo in the state of New South Wales. 

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Boats are pulled ashore as smoke and wildfires rage behind Lake Conjola in New South Wales. Thousands of people fled Australia’s wildfire-ravaged eastern coast late last week ahead of worsening conditions. 

Fairfax Media via Getty Images

A scene from a tourist spot in Mallacoota. 

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Wildfires rage under plumes of smoke in Bairnsdale in Victoria. 

REUTERS

Wildlife rescuer Simon Adamczyk carries a koala on Kangaroo Island in the state of South Australia. 

REUTERS

A helicopter flies over a burning tree in Bundoora, a suburb of Melbourne. 

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Firefighters worked through the night to prevent a flare-up from crossing the Kings Highway in between Nelligen and Batemans Bay in New South Wales. 

Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Josie Kerr holds her daughter, Ellie, against the backdrop of a blood-red sky in Mallacoota late last week.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A wallaby hops across a road to flee a fire near Mangrove Mountain, north of Sydney, in early December. Hot, dry conditions brought an early start to Australia’s fire season. 

Tracey Nearmy / Reuters

A resident used a garden hose to wet down his house as high winds pushed smoke and ash from a fire toward Nowra in New South Wales late last week. 

REUTERS

A scene from a fire near the town of Tahmoor, which is southwest of Sydney, in mid-December. 

REUTERS

A firefighter sprays water after a fire raged through Bundoora in late December. 

SAEED KHAN via Getty Images

A photo taken Monday shows charred vehicles gutted by bushfires in Mogo Village in New South Wales. Officials say the cost of damages caused by extended fire crisis has risen to almost half a billion dollars. 

Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Fire ripped through the valley near a farming hamlet in the East Gippsland region of Victoria. Brian Blakeman stayed, and with his wife saved their house. The surrounding buildings were destroyed. 

Lisa Maree Williams via Getty Images

Sam Mitchell, owner of the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, carries a dead koala and kangaroo to a mass grave site on Wednesday. The park has been treating and housing close to 30 koalas a day. A catastrophic bushfire over the weekend killed two people in the area.

Tracey Nearmy / Reuters

Christmas decorations remained arrayed near a destroyed house in Cobargo on Sunday.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Thick smoke from wildfires shrouded the iconic Opera House in Sydney in early December as Australia first grappled with its environmental crisis.

Fairfax Media via Getty Images

A koala that Damian Campbell-Davys named “Tinny Arse” sits in his water tanker after he resued the animal. Campbell-Davys is among those who have been supplying water firefighters in the Southern Tablelands region of New South Wales. 

REUTERS

Hazy conditions partially obscure the view of a rescue ship off the coast of Victoria last week. 

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Firefighters pay their respects as the casket of Andrew O’Dwyer arrives for his funeral service at a Catholic church in Sydney on Tuesday. O’Dwyer and colleague Geoffrey Keaton were killed six days before Christmas when a tree fell in the path of their truck as the Green Wattle Creek fire burned in New South Wales, causing the vehicle to roll.