Australia's record-setting drought became a record-setting bushfire season in September when lightning strikes and a few cases of arson met with moisture-free landscapes. Since then firefighters have been battling blazes across almost every state, creating tallies of loss that are enormous. An estimated 10 million hectares of bushland has gone up in smoke, with some 2,200 homes and buildings lost. Twenty-eight people have been killed, while catastrophic numbers of animals have died, likely into the millions. But at a certain point, large numbers and words like "catastrophic" don't mean anything, which is why we've compiled this list of videos.
These videos were mostly shot on phones as people took refuge, or on GoPros as firefighters attempted to help. They were all filmed in different states, on different days, and have been posted on different sites, but together they illustrate the gravity of Australia's fires in a way that raw numbers can't.
On January 4, Simon Wadsworth, a volunteer with the Gol Gol Rural Fire Brigade, watched as a bushfire hit a petrol station in the town of Batlow. Simon shot the event from behind his truck as several LPG cylinders exploded, sending balls of flame into the sky. Some 20 homes were destroyed in the area but Simon and his crew were unharmed.
Credit: Simon Wadsworth via Storyful
You might have already seen this video. It's been viewed around the world 7.7 million times because it's utterly terrifying. The video shows a crew from Station 509 Wyoming bouncing along a burning track near Nowra, NSW, when a gust of wind drives the front directly over the truck, which is a potentially lethal situation known as a "flashover." In this case all firefighters escaped unharmed.
Credit: NSW Fire and Rescue via Storyful
This one is short but it provides a window into how it might feel to realise a fire is literally at your door. Tracey Corbin-Matchett shared this one on Twitter after the holiday home they were staying in was engulfed by fire in Tarbuck Bay, NSW, on December 30. “My kids were screaming,” Corbin-Matchett wrote on Twitter. “The most frightening experience of my life.” All managed to escape but the house was destroyed.
Credit: Tracey Corbin-Matchett via Storyful
This video was shot by firefighters early on the morning of December 22. Everyone is backing up as fire licks at a home in Blackheath, NSW. The house was evacuated but it's unknown whether it survived. The NSW Rural Fire Service said 20 buildings had been destroyed in the area from that Sunday.
Credit: Chris Wall and the NSW RFS via Storyful
As the Victorian holiday town of Mallacoota burned on New Years Eve, people were forced to flee down to the beach to the escape the flames. This footage shows a black sky at about 9 AM, when it was usually broad daylight.
Credit: Kelly Doobs via Storyful
This article originally appeared on VICE AU.