Moving photos have captured the devastating aftermath of bushfires across New South Wales after they tore through the state’s south coast, leaving homes and wildlife scorched.
Residents of Rosedale, 18km south of Bateman’s Bay, were forced to flee on New Year’s Eve, hours before a massive fire engulfed the town.
Photos taken on Friday show areas of the small coastal town that have been completely wiped out, with properties suffering extensive damage to their roofs and windows, while others were flattened to a pile of debris.
The Rural Fire Service said earlier this week at least 176 homes had been lost across the state, including 40 at Malua Bay and 15 at Rosedale.
Vehicles that were left behind as residents fled the inferno were reduced to a pile of metal with the tires melted off.
Harrowing photos also show devastation to wildlife, including scorched kangaroos who were burnt to death as they tried to escape the blaze.
Relief: A severely burned kangaroo gets a cold shower from a boy with a watering can after terrible fires on the New South Wales south coast
Devastation: An entire home and car in North Rosedale seen completely flattened by the wild south coast fires, with only a letterbox still standing after the inferno
Aftermath: Photos show the devastation in Rosedale on the south coast of NSW after wildfire ripped through the region
Destruction: This garage was reduced to a pile of rubble and destroyed brickwork after bushfires tore through Rosedale
Cars were seen completely burned out, with their tyres melted away, panels destroyed and layers of ash blanketed over them
A garbage bin with a mangled lid stands in front of a destroyed home and blackened ash covered trees in North Rosedale
Temperatures surpassing 40C are set to combine with dry lightning strikes and wind to add to NSW’s bushfire nightmare over the weekend.
But a number of days of respite are expected to follow.
Saturday’s forecast paints a grim outlook for parts of the state – particularly the NSW south coast – already battling scores of uncontrolled deadly bushfires as residents flee their homes and holiday-goers cancel plans.
Heat is set to quickly rise on Saturday before a change sweeps over the state, Bureau of Meteorology acting NSW manager Jane Golding said.
‘In short, we’ve got a long hot day to get through first with some really dangerous fire dangers,’ Ms Golding told reporters on Friday.
‘That cold front bringing that southerly change, we’re expecting that not to reach the far south coast… until late in the day, to move through the Batemans Bay region early evening and come through Sydney about midnight.
A kangaroo suffering huge burns to its body shaking hands with a teenager after being given water on the NSW south coast
Burned alive: Wildlife have been absolutely devastated in the fires with animals including kangaroos found burned to a crisp
A house seen with the top floor completely burned out from fire damage, including shattered windows and melted roofs
The fire in Rosedale rapidly burnt through bush land and out onto the streets, where cars became burnt out in the inferno
The fire danger will reach extreme levels in some areas and the forecast late cool change is due to bring thunderstorms and lightning.
NSW faces a two-day total fire ban from Friday, the third seven-day state of emergency in as many months and demands for those across the state’s south coast and Snowy Valleys to evacuate immediately.
‘The chance of new fires from lightning tomorrow is high,’ Ms Golding said.
‘The main area we’re concerned about is an area stretching right from the South Australian border to the central and southern slopes, western slopes of NSW.’
On a brighter note, the Rural Fire Service said weather conditions around NSW would ease for a number of days from Sunday.
Southern NSW may experience some showers on Sunday and Monday.
‘There’s potential for some elevated winds later in (next) week but no big heat spikes because of that hot air mass, there’s some more moist air brought into the west of the country helping to flush out that hot air,’ RFS deputy commissioner Rob Rogers told reporters on Friday.
Extensive damage seen at a car wreckers in Batemans Bay with vehicles and the business front destroyed after fire burned through the town
Melted: The roof of this home in North Rosedale has been reduced to a coiled and shrunken mess after fire tore through the area
Stranded: A number of roads have been closed due to the fires on the south coast, leaving some residents trapped ahead of incoming fires
‘There’s some potential showers Sunday, Monday, particularly in Victoria that potentially might push up to the south of NSW. That’ll all be welcome.’
NSW Health, meanwhile, warned people to remain cautious about air pollution, with the Sydney basin likely to endure smoke haze on Saturday.
The elderly and those with lung and heart conditions have been advised to remain indoors and avoid exercise.
The early and devastating start to Australia’s summer wildfires has made this season the worst on record. About 5 million hectares (12.35 million acres) of land have burned, at least 19 people have been killed, and more than 1,400 homes have been destroyed.
This week, at least 448 homes have been destroyed on the New South Wales southern coast and dozens were burned in Victoria. Ten deaths have been confirmed in the two states this week, and Victoria authorities also say 28 people are missing. Fires are also burning in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.
Authorities fear strong north-westerly winds could push the fire in Corryong, in north-east Victoria, further north where the Dunns Road fire is burning in NSW (both circled). And the wind change combined with the hot and dry conditions could see the bushfires ‘suck each other in’
This map shows how firefighters expect the bushfires on the Victorian-New South Wales boarder to spread as the weekend begins