3 million hectares turned to ash: The devastation of the NSW bushfires, as seen from above.


We’ve read the numbers tied to the NSW bushfire crisis, heard them rattled off on the news almost nightly since September 2019.

At least 750 homes destroyed.

More than 3 million hectares of land burned — more than the last three fire seasons combined and larger than the entire country of Wales.

2000 koalas perished and several corridors of precious habitat lost.

And most sobering of all, eight people killed, including Rural Fire Service Deputy Captain Geoffrey Keaton, 32, and Firefighter Andrew O’Dwyer, 36, whose truck rolled south-west of Sydney on Thursday evening.

And there appears to be no reprieve in sight.

As of Friday afternoon, there are 100 blazes burning across the state, as firefighters brace for catastrophic fire conditions in the greater Sydney region, the Illawarra and southern ranges over the weekend.

Watch: Just one of the hundreds of families affected by the fires.

Video by Channel 9

Even with all these numbers, it can be difficult to fully appreciate the scale of this crisis. Until you see it from above.

Below are satellite images captured on September 27 before the worst of this whole ordeal began. Then, slide across to reveal the situation as it stood just days ago (Monday, December 16).

The dark patches revealed on this graphic, for example, capture the area scorched by the so-called Gospers Mountain “megafire” currently burning out of control in the Hawkesbury region, northwest of Sydney.


The entire blaze, which spans 449,000 hectares, is expected to take weeks to tackle.

To the city’s southwest is the 176,000 hectare Green Wattle Creek blaze, which is currently subject to an emergency warning.

Residents in the towns of Nattai, Pheasants Nest, Buxton, Couridjah, Thirlmere, Tahmoor, Bargo and Yanderra were advised on Friday that it was too late to leave.

A state in flames.

The northern half of NSW has been among the hardest hit by the crisis.

The plumes of smoke revealed near the state’s northern border in the below graphic indicate the blazes currently encircling Grafton, a city in the Northern Rivers region.

Roughly 2.5 hours south lies the Port Macquarie area, which has suffered an onslaught over the past couple of months. It is the mid-north coast region that tragically recorded six casualties and dozens of injuries when the worst of its fires tore through in late October and early November.

Currently, there is a blaze burning to the south of Port Macquarie, along with several in bushland to the west, all of which are under control.

As millions of Australians head into Christmas holidays today, our thoughts are with those affected by the bushfire crisis and those risking their lives to fight it.

… And there’s more.

Mamamia Out Loud, our bi-weekly podcast, is coming to Melbourne for a live show, with 100 per cent of all ticket proceeds going to the Australian Red Cross disaster relief and recovery fund.

It’s a brand new show, full of laughs and news and opinions and a few special surprises, with Mia Freedman, Holly Wainwright and Jessie Stephens, on February the 11th. You can buy tickets right now at See you there!