One of the worst wildfire seasons in Australian history has killed at least 18 people, destroyed more than 1,000 homes and left firefighters struggling to contain more than 100 blazes. Conditions are likely to grow worse, with high temperatures and strong winds expected to fan conflagrations across Australia’s southeast this weekend.
In the state of Victoria, which declared a disaster on Thursday, some residents and tourists were evacuated by the Royal Australian Navy. Others were forced to join long lines of vehicles jammed onto escape routes.
New South Wales also declared an emergency, and evacuations from parts of the state could be the largest in its history.
Here is a look at some of the most powerful images of the destruction, residents’ attempts to flee to safety and the continuing effort to contain the fires.
A home, above, gutted by fire in Surf Beach, New South Wales.
Waiting to be evacuated from Mallacoota, Victoria.
Royal Australian Navy vessels carried people away from Mallacoota, a coastal town.
A Rural Fire Service plane descended to fill its water tank on Friday in Moruya, in New South Wales.
A center for evacuees in Batemans Bay, New South Wales.
A fire in Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state, which has declared a state of disaster.
Monitoring a fire in East Gippsland, Victoria, where 17 people were missing.
Inspecting the wreckage of a fire truck that had veered off a dirt track near Lake Conjola, New South Wales, as a fire approached.
Smoke rising over the far shore of Lake Conjola.
Cars lined up waiting to leave Manyana in New South Wales.
Rural Fire Service crew members burning dry brush in an effort to prevent more catastrophic fires near Manyana.
Flames consumed trees along a road near Manyana, where hundreds of tourists were stranded.
A home threatened by fire in Sarsfield, Victoria.
A firefighter spraying foam retardant ahead of an approaching fire in the New South Wales town of Jerrawangala.
Buildings destroyed in Sarsfield.
The owners of a business that was destroyed by fire in Cobargo, New South Wales.
The carcass of a burned cow in Coolagolite, New South Wales.
A man in Lake Conjola sprayed water as fire consumed the house next door.
Fires in Yatte Yattah, New South Wales.
Firefighters in Lake Conjola.
A burned car in Conjola.
Tourists in Lake Conjola, a popular holiday destination, took refuge on a beach.
A man defending his property at Fishermans Paradise, New South Wales.