Red-tinged skies and thick fog hung over Australia’s New South Wales state, as deadly bush fires prompted military deployments, mass evacuations, and a government pledge of billions of dollars in recovery aid.
“Some days it always feels like sunset," as one resident put it.
The death toll from the fires, which have been burning for five months, has reached at least 24, and at least 2,000 homes have been destroyed across the country. So far, the blazes have scorched an area twice the size of the US state of Maryland.
According to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, 136 fires continued to burn across the state Monday, 69 of which were uncontained.
Very red skies in Mallacoota, SE #Australia on the 31st of December as #wildfires continue to burn in Australia! Heat will build over next couple days into 40s again as well as strong winds! #AustraliaBushfires Photo source; Cyclone of Rhodes; pic.twitter.com/XcE27Qhv6x— WEATHER/ METEO WORLD (@StormchaserUKEU) January 2, 2020
Photos from mum and dad at Merimbula this morning. Difficult to breathe and see, but these pics are without filter. Red/black skies at 11am and the normally pristine beach covered in ash. Their dog Evie (pictured) is having a swim and a cool down.#fires #merimbula #australia pic.twitter.com/9y14z0BGVB— Brett Iredale (@BrettIredale) January 5, 2020
Plumes of smoke from the wildfires on Australia’s east coast drifted to New Zealand, cloaking the sky in orange light.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.