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How bad are the Australia bushfires? These 15 haunting photos will give you an idea

Residents look on as flames burn through bush in Lake Tabourie, Australia.
Residents look on as flames burn through bush in Lake Tabourie, Australia. (2020 Getty Images)

Australia’s government said Monday it was willing to pay “whatever it takes” to help communities recover from the deadly wildfires that have ravaged the country.

-- Just here for the pictures? Scroll down to view them. --

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government was committing the equivalent of $1.4 billion in U.S. currency toward the recovery effort, in addition to the tens of millions of dollars that have already been promised.

“The fires are still burning. And they’ll be burning for months to come,” Morrison said. “And so that’s why I outlined today that this is an initial, an additional, investment of $2 billion. If more is needed and the cost is higher, then more will be provided.”

Nationwide, at least 25 people have been killed and 2,000 homes destroyed by the blazes, which have so far scorched an area twice the size of the U.S. state of Maryland. Rain and cooler temperatures on Monday were bringing some relief to communities battling the fires. But the rain was also making it challenging for fire crews to complete strategic burns as they tried to prepare for higher temperatures that have been forecast for later in the week.

At last check, more than 135 fires were still burning across New South Wales, including almost 70 that were not contained. Officials have warned that the rain won’t put out the largest and most dangerous blazes before conditions deteriorate again.

As promised, here’s a look at some of the latest photos.


1.) Operation Bushfire Assist

A Royal Australian Navy MH-60R Seahawk "Romeo" helicopter takes off in connection with Operation Bushfire Assist, on Jan. 5, 2020.
A Royal Australian Navy MH-60R Seahawk "Romeo" helicopter takes off in connection with Operation Bushfire Assist, on Jan. 5, 2020. (Australian Department of Defense via Getty Images)

2.) Wandering cattle

With fire-damaged fences, cattle wander on to the road outside Cann River, Australia.
With fire-damaged fences, cattle wander on to the road outside Cann River, Australia. (2020 Getty Images)

3.) Ghost town

A ghostly train station is pictured as rain begins to fall on Jan. 5, 2020 in Bundanoon, Australia. A state of emergency has been in place across the region as firefighters work to contain multiple fires in the area, more than a dozen of which are at emergency level.
A ghostly train station is pictured as rain begins to fall on Jan. 5, 2020 in Bundanoon, Australia. A state of emergency has been in place across the region as firefighters work to contain multiple fires in the area, more than a dozen of which are at emergency level. (2020 Getty Images)

4.) Tobacco-colored skies

A plane flys into land in the tobacco-colored skies over Manukau city, photographed from Totara Park, on Jan. 5, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand.
A plane flys into land in the tobacco-colored skies over Manukau city, photographed from Totara Park, on Jan. 5, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. (2020 Getty Images)

5.) Haze across Sydney

A seagull is seen with a view of Brighton-Le-Sands in Sydney, Australia. Smoke haze across Sydney has become more and more common as bushfires continue to burn.
A seagull is seen with a view of Brighton-Le-Sands in Sydney, Australia. Smoke haze across Sydney has become more and more common as bushfires continue to burn. (2020 Getty Images)

6.) State of emergency

A hose is left slumped over a fence in front of a burnt-out structure in Wingello, Australia. A state of emergency is in place across the region as firefighters battle 150 fires, 64 of which are uncontained.
A hose is left slumped over a fence in front of a burnt-out structure in Wingello, Australia. A state of emergency is in place across the region as firefighters battle 150 fires, 64 of which are uncontained. (2020 Getty Images)

7.) Air quality

A woman wearing a face mask looks at her phone as she walks across The Sydney Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia. Smoke haze across Sydney city has become common in recent months as bushfires continue to burn across eastern Australia.
A woman wearing a face mask looks at her phone as she walks across The Sydney Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia. Smoke haze across Sydney city has become common in recent months as bushfires continue to burn across eastern Australia. (2020 Getty Images)

8.) Burned trees, debris

Burnt trees and debris cover the road on Jan. 5, 2020 outside Cann River along the Monaro Highway, in Australia. Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has declared a state of disaster in the region, compelling residents in threatened areas to evacuate. Thousands of people remain stranded in the coastal town of Mallacoota and are being evacuated by navy ships to Melbourne.
Burnt trees and debris cover the road on Jan. 5, 2020 outside Cann River along the Monaro Highway, in Australia. Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has declared a state of disaster in the region, compelling residents in threatened areas to evacuate. Thousands of people remain stranded in the coastal town of Mallacoota and are being evacuated by navy ships to Melbourne. (2020 Getty Images)

9.) A look from afar

Fires are still burning to the north of Nowa Nowa.
Fires are still burning to the north of Nowa Nowa. (2020 Getty Images)

10.) Army reservists called in

A burnt-out structure is pictured in Wingello, Australia. Prime Minister Scott Morrison this weekend announced that army reservists were being called up to help with firefighting efforts across Australia, along with extra ships and helicopters.
A burnt-out structure is pictured in Wingello, Australia. Prime Minister Scott Morrison this weekend announced that army reservists were being called up to help with firefighting efforts across Australia, along with extra ships and helicopters. (2020 Getty Images)

11.) People missing

Crews put out spot fires in Sarsfield, Australia. Twenty-eight people remain missing in the area following bushfires across East Gippsland, with Victorian premier Daniel Andrews declaring a state of disaster.
Crews put out spot fires in Sarsfield, Australia. Twenty-eight people remain missing in the area following bushfires across East Gippsland, with Victorian premier Daniel Andrews declaring a state of disaster. (2020 Getty Images)

12.) Burnt-out cars, destroyed houses

A burnt car is seen near a destroyed house in Sarsfield, Australia.
A burnt car is seen near a destroyed house in Sarsfield, Australia. (2020 Getty Images)

13.) Family evacuates

A family boards an Australian Army Blackhawk helicopter at Omeo Showgrounds, for evacuation to RAAF Base East Sale.
A family boards an Australian Army Blackhawk helicopter at Omeo Showgrounds, for evacuation to RAAF Base East Sale. (2020 Australian Department of Defense via Getty Images)

14.) Back-burns

Crews from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and the Country Fire Authority monitor fires and begin back-burns between the towns of Orbost and Lakes Entrance in East Gippsland.
Crews from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and the Country Fire Authority monitor fires and begin back-burns between the towns of Orbost and Lakes Entrance in East Gippsland. (2020 Getty Images)

15.) Evacuation checks

In this handout provided by the Australian Department of Defense, Warrant Officer Class Two Darrel Rowe, from the 5th Aviation Squadron, searches the ground from an Australian Army CH-47F Chinook during the flight to Omeo to evacuate local residents.
In this handout provided by the Australian Department of Defense, Warrant Officer Class Two Darrel Rowe, from the 5th Aviation Squadron, searches the ground from an Australian Army CH-47F Chinook during the flight to Omeo to evacuate local residents. (2020 Australian Department of Defense via Getty Images)

Victoria state Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville said at least 8 inches of rain would need to fall over a short period of time in order to snuff out the fires — around 20 times what has fallen across the region in the past day.

And officials warned that Australia’s wildfire season — which generally lasts through March — was nowhere near its end. Australia’s capital, Canberra, had the worst air quality of any major city in the world for much of Monday. The Department of Home Affairs, which is responsible for coordinating the country’s response to disasters, told all noncritical staff to stay home because of thick smoke choking the city.

The prime minister said the military was attempting to get food, fuel and water to burned-out communities, and engineers were working to reopen roads and resupply evacuation centers. On Kangaroo Island, a refuge off the coast of South Australia state for some of the country’s most endangered creatures, teams had arrived to help euthanize livestock and wild animals injured in the blazes. Hundreds of millions of animals are believed to have died already in the fires across the country.

Heavy smoke, meanwhile, was hampering the navy’s efforts to airlift people out of Mallacoota, a coastal town in Victoria cut off for days by fires that forced as many as 4,000 residents and tourists to shelter on beaches over the weekend. Around 300 people were still waiting to be evacuated on Monday.

Wildfires are common during the southern hemisphere summer, and Australians generally take a pragmatic view of them. But this year’s fires arrived unusually early, fed by drought and the country’s hottest and driest year on record. Scientists say there’s no doubt man-made global warming has played a major role in feeding the fires, along with factors like very dry brush and trees and strong winds.

All facts, figures and copy: The Associated Press.

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