Sky’s special correspondent has Alex Crawford spoke to survivors and firefighters in southern New South Wales.
Cooler weather has helped firefighters who are trying to contain raging bushfires in south east Australia – but there are more than 150 still burning in New South Wales (NSW) alone.
Dozens of the fires in NSW have been described as “uncontained”.
Image: Many firefighters are volunteers
The air around Moruya, in southern NSW, was thick with smoke as more than a dozen new fires broke out in spite of the faint rain drizzle – the first in weeks.
More than a dozen communities around the Batemans Bay area on the southeast coast have been left devastated after ferocious fires ripped through their homes over the past twelve hours.
Power lines have been burned down and hundreds of thousands more hectares of land left horribly charred.
Around Malua Bay, dozens of homes have been destroyed, with residents telling Sky News they had about 10 minutes to run for their lives.
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“The fire came so quickly,” one said.
“We had very little time to do anything. We just had to leave.”
Image: Kevin Colebrook survived the fire by pouring buckets of water over himself
Image: A house crippled by the fires in New South Wales
Kevin Colebrook, whose house is inside the forest, was still spraying hot patches of smouldering tree roots and branches the following morning.
He survived by pouring buckets of water from his water tank over himself.
His anger against Australia’s leader is palpable. He did not hold back when I asked him what Prime Minister Scott Morrison should do.
“He should p*** off out of the country because he don’t deserve to live in Australia any more. Because he’s a d***wit,” he said.
“Everyone in Australia has been let down by them b*******. And that’s all they are – p*****.
“They’re only lining their own pockets. They don’t care about us.”
Image: Volunteer firefighter Dave Moreta said crews are hardly getting a break
His feelings are replicated by many we spoke to, still emotional and raw about the overnight brush with death and destruction, including some firefighters.
Volunteer firefighter Dave Moreta told us: “I wasn’t too happy the prime minister was taking a holiday, but this is what we volunteered to do and this is what we will do.
“All the crews are hurting. They are taking triple calls and working really hard and even in our downtime we don’t have time to rest because we have to sort out our equipment and get ready for the next onslaught.”
The fierce fires have prompted a massive worldwide outpouring of financial help.
Livestock killed trying to escape bushfires
Australian comedian Celeste Barber, who has relatives trapped in Eden in NSW, used her enormous social media platform to help raise more than AUS$20m (£10.6m) for the firefighters in just 48 hours.
The donations are still pouring in.
It is in stark contrast to the country’s leader who held out for weeks against pressure to offer the volunteers compensation, until relenting shortly after Christmas.
And the crisis is still far from over.
Source : Sky News