As the fire stalked toward the coastal town of Mallacoota, the daytime sky turned inky black, then blood red. Emergency sirens wailed, replaced later by the thunder of gas explosions. Thousands of residents fled their homes and huddled near the shore. There was nowhere else to go.
[Australia’s Continuous 9News Coverage can be seen HERE]
On the last day of the warmest decade on record in Australia, the country’s east coast was dotted on Tuesday with apocalyptic scenes like the ones in Mallacoota, a vacation destination between Sydney and Melbourne.
Australia is in the grip of a devastating fire season, with months of summer still to go, as record-breaking temperatures, strong winds and prolonged drought have ignited huge blazes across the country.
In Mallacoota, residents in boats shared footage of themselves on social media wearing masks and life vests as they waited in the eerie light. Others opted to stay and defend homes, likening burning trees to “exploding infernos” and describing the roar of the blazes.