news

In Victoria and South Australia, the bushfires are as bad as New Year's Eve. We just don't have photos.

Right now, the bushfires are as bad as ever.

If you’ve been on social media, or any major news sites this past week, you might have been lulled into thinking the bushfires were easing. That the crisis is coming to an end. That the fires ‘aren’t as bad’ anymore.

Wrong.

On Thursday the arrival of American firefighting reinforcements was met with cheers at the airport. Post continue after video.

Video by Shane Fitzsimmons

The difference between this week and the week after New Year’s Day when Australia and the rest of the world suddenly woke up to the crisis unfolding, is the terrifying perspective pictures from the frontline bring – and with it the stark reality of mass rescues.

Right now, your social media feeds aren’t being plastered with, as many, devastating Armageddon-like photos from the fire front.

Pictures like this: a blood-red sky and thousands huddled on a beach.

ADVERTISEMENT

Pictures like this: a kangaroo jumping through fiery ruins.

Pictures like this: a young boy paddling his way to safety.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Not our usual kind of post… This is AUSTRALIA ringing in the New Year with month Long unprecedented scorching temperatures, suffocating smoke even in down town Sydney, hundreds of people left homeless as their homes burn to the ground and lives lost. In Australia we have Volunteer Firefighters who leave their jobs, their families and in instances so far 3 brave volunteers have lost their lives protecting others. Not to mention native animals, live stock and pets who could not be saved There is no doubt we will lose more brave people and animals as this catastrophe continues through the summer and beyond. We thank those people who are volunteering and appreciate their efforts. This fire season is like no other we have ever seen. Climate change is real. ???????????????????????????????????? The boy pictured is 11yr old Finn who rescued his mother, his brother and their dog by steering through thick smoke in their tiny boat. This kid is a hero!!! #finnburns #courageous #mallacootafires

A post shared by Bug & Busta Aussie Bulldogs (@bugandbustabulldogs) on

ADVERTISEMENT

These are just a handful of the viral photos that emerged as we entered 2020. Although the bushfires had been raging since September, it wasn’t until photos from places like Narooma and Mallacoota over New Year – pictures that were unlike anything we’d ever seen, even to those of us who’d lived through many a bushfire season – that we, and the world, were spurred into action.

Of course, a few terrifying elements came together over the New Year period. The deaths of three of our incredible firefighters in December, the inaction of our Prime Minister and his controversial Hawaiian holiday, and the culmination of stories that we’d been hearing since September about it being the earliest and hottest fire season ever.

It all reached its peak when photos of that dark red sky demanded our attention on New Year’s Eve.

Brands, influencers, celebrities – everyone jumped on board. We, Australia, were plastered across every publication in the world as we entered the new year in a blaze of terror.

People like comedian Celeste Barber relaying the events as they unfolded for her family in Eden, catapulted the devastation to a new global audience. Her plight alone managed to attract the most amount of donations to a Facebook fundraiser, ever.

ADVERTISEMENT

Our fight, one firefighters and locals had been dealing with for months already, was finally realised in a big galvanising way.

But it’s been a few weeks now since those New Year’s Eve photos, and the mass rescues of thousands.

The threat has gone from areas on the NSW South Coast that made so many realise the terrifying reality of this summer’s bushfire season.

But that threat hasn’t gone – it has just moved elsewhere.

You might have noticed your news and social feeds slowly going back to normal. You’re seeing less and less about the fires, and that’s because those stories aren’t being clicked on as much. The photos aren’t as terrifying and the number of people left stranded isn’t as big.

But the fires haven’t stopped.

Right now, the threat is mainly in Victoria where until this morning there were still two emergency warnings in place.

ADVERTISEMENT

“These fires are continuing to misbehave and during the night when the conditions should be at their best they are still spotting out over lines and causing firefighters out there significant grief,” Emergency Victoria state response controller, Gary Cook, told Today.

“We are dealing with really, really dry fuels and really the solution here is a big rain,” he added this morning.

On Saturday we lost another life.

Bill Slade, 60, was working on the edge of a fire at Anglers Rest near Omeo when he was struck by a tree.

As 9News reports, Premier Daniel Andrews sent his condolences to Mr Slade’s family yesterday, stressing how his death showed the fires remain a dangerous environment.

firefighter death omeo
Bill Slade died over the weekend. Image: Facebook.
ADVERTISEMENT

On Friday, a man suffered serious burns, and four firefighters were injured after intense firestorms ripped through the Snowy Mountains and Southern Highlands, reported the Daily Telegraph.

On Friday evening, three bushfires merged to create a massive blaze in the Snowy Mountains region after being fanned by strong winds.

Imagine if we had compelling photos of that firestorm?

On Kangaroo Island in South Australia, the threat is also very much alive. Residents and tourists spent Friday night on an oval and close to a jetty in Kingscote stranded as the fire bore down. There are 600 homes still without power with army planes arriving there today to ship in vital supplies to remote areas that are running out of resources. The featured photo above and on the left shows the damage done to the Flinders Chase National Park after bushfires swept through on Kangaroo Island, and this week, they're still dealing with flare-ups.

Imagine if we had compelling photos from that night?

ADVERTISEMENT

For many, the bushfires are still a terrifying and ongoing disaster. Despite the slowly dissipating media attention.

And that's not to say there hasn't been good news on some fronts.

The Gospers Mountain fire, which has been burning north-west of Sydney, is under control after two-and-a-half months.

For some, the danger has passed.

Conditions are cooler on the NSW South Coast, and the fire grounds are expecting 25 millimetres of rain on Thursday.

But let's not see this good news, and think we're out of trouble everywhere.

"It's important to remember not to be complacent as there are still a few months of the bushfire season to go with some bushland that still has not been burnt," Hawkesbury RFS wrote on Facebook.

It's important to remember, there are people still fighting for their lives and livelihoods right now.

There are also still thousands of firefighters risking their lives to help them do so.

With AAP

Feature image: Instagram @bugandbustabulldogs/AAP Image 

00:00 / ???