As fires rage across three Australian states, devastating towns, businesses and the lives of the people that support them, helpless onlookers have taken to social media to express their grief and to illustrate the crisis.
Here is a collection of Tweets spanning the affected states that highlight our nation’s response to one of the worst natural disasters we have faced.
Nine News reporter Natalia Cooper recorded eye-watering temperatures in Penrith, which was named the hottest place on Earth on Saturday afternoon. She deemed the record-breaking heat “Unbelievable.”
Country Fire Association Operations Manager Bill Johnstone offered a stark view of Cooma, where the entire town turned pitch black at 4.30pm. He also share photos of the same spot where the sky had turned dusty orange with the smoke, and then blood red as a reflection of the fires.
Tweeting this link to a live cross in Mallacoota, Mimi Becker called the pitch-black afternoon skies in the fire-ravaged town “eerie” as followers and commenters lamented the apocalyptic scenes.
The black skies mirrored those across Australia’s east coast that were either darkened by thick smoke, or glowing a deep orange as they reflected the crackling fires.
This emotional recollection from a NSW woman highlighted the dire circumstances of those whose lives and families have been affected by the bushfires, calling those who had fallen ill due to the smoke “climate refugees”, and expressing sadness over how quickly climate change has brought about these catastrophic conditions.
Similarly, Brisbane woman Kirstin Ferguson shared this image of a NSWRFS firefighter’s boots, the soles of which had melted due to the incredible heat of the bushfires.
“Thinking of all the incredibly brave firefighters today,” she posted alongside the photo of the scuffed and heavily worn boots.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian took to Twitter to thank those who had evacuated their homes in fire-threatened areas of the state. She also said during a press conference that Australians would be facing a “long night” ahead as the fires continue to devastate communities.
Canberra-based assistant principal Garreth Wigg posted updates about the strong southerly winds in Eden, sharing photos of the shockingly blood-red sky in the town from a family property.
Wigg explains that his family were preparing to protect their “property, home and animals” for the last four days.
Victorian citizen Karen Percy took a lighter view of the situation by focusing on the humanitaria response to those in need. She documented the efforts of Melbourne’s Muslim community in Human Appeal Australia and the Australian Islamic Council, who donated five truckloads of “food, water and supplies” to Gippsland communities.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews issued a pertinent health warning on his Twitter account, fearing about the wellbeing of people near fires in Victoria.
The Premier suggested that the poor air quality meant that those with breathing issues or asthma stay indoors and ensure they kept their medication nearby.
South Australian woman Bianca Borrett called the destruction caused by the fires on Kangaroo Island “absolutely heartbreaking” as she shared a story about the razing of the Southern Ocean Lodge by the bushfires.
Several social media users took to Twitter to express their grief about the devastating fires on Kangaroo Island, recalling the tropical area as a haven for animals, many of which had been considered lucky to escape the fires.
Twitter user and student journalist Travis shared terrifying footage of ash falling in Eden, New South Wales, claiming that the result of the bushfires was being blown in by strong southerly winds.
The ash and smoke is shown to be falling thickly across the town as a result of the nearby fires.
Nine News reporter Ben Avery shared these photographs of what he described as “what was left of the Western Districts football and netball club”. The images show the remains of the recreational areas in complete disarray, having been destroyed by the fires.
And it wasn’t just Australians posting their emotional tributes to the lives, homes and infrastructure lost to the bushfires.
And Sydney 9News reporter Tiffiny Genders shared this vision as an illustration of the soot and ash falling from the skies.
The fires are still raging throughout New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, foreshadowing a continued outpouring of emotion across social media channels from around the world.