Reddit | jaxond24

Photos Of Australia Before And After Wildfires Highlight Devastating Destruction

Australia's bushfires have been burning through parts of the country since September without any end in sight, scorching millions of acres of land and killing more than a billion animals in its wake. Thousands of people have been forced out of their homes to avoid the blazes, which have killed a reported 25 people.

As the fires continue to grow more intense and more destructive, it can be difficult to understand the true devastation facing Australians for those of us who aren't there experiencing the loss of our own country ourselves.

To help us better understand the true tragedy facing Australia right now, here are some before and after photos showing just how great their loss really is.

These photos were taken within a month of each other back at the end of November.

Reddit | nighthawk8997

They show the impact of the fires on Australia's Mid North Coast in the state of New South Wales. NSW has been the worst-hit state in the country, with the fires affecting almost five million hectares of land and destroying more than 1,300 houses.

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Mogo Wildlife Park in Mogo, Australia, was caught in a raging bushfire just last week.

Trip Advisor | Mogo Wildlife Park / Facebook

Global News reported zoo officials worked for hours to keep all 200 of the park's animals out of harm's way, even going so far as to house a red panda, a tiger, and other animals at some of the keepers' own homes.

One of the park's zookeepers, Chad, posted the second photo seen above on Facebook and reassured concerned citizens that "every single one" of the animals at the zoo is safe.

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Australia's scenic Blue Mountains have been ravaged by fire since the end of December.

According to the Sydney Herald, the sight of the rugged region ablaze was enough to compel NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to take action in order to mitigate further damage, and protect the lives of those people who call the towns atop the mountains their home.

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The smoke from the bushfires have completely blocked the picturesque view of Aoraki (Mount Cook) in New Zealand.

The highest mountain in NZ, this once stunning region has now been surrounded by smoke, turning its skies a murky yellow color.

Some local experts who frequent the mountains have also reported discoloration on the actual glacier, too.

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Popular tourist destination Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island has been destroyed.

Southern Ocean Lodge / 7News

According to the resort's website, Kangaroo Island is Australia's third biggest island and has become a premiere destination spot for nature lovers largely due to its native wildlife, featuring such animals as kangaroos, seals, and sea lions.

The resort recently announced on Instagram that the Lodge has been destroyed by the fires, but all guests and staff are safe. They also said they are "committed to rebuilding the lodge, and to taking a leading role in whatever ways we can to help rebuild the tourism industry on Kangaroo Island."

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This home in Sarsfield, Victoria, was miraculously spared from the fire's destruction.

Reddit | Tom-Cotton

The Reddit user revealed that the first photo was taken two hours before the fires hit their home, and the second was taken three days later. They credited the hard work of local fire fighters for saving their family home:

"We lost all the sheds and the back veranda burned down but the fire didn't spread to the house thankfully,. We aren't 100% sure but we think the fires might've been put out before it spread to the house, absolutely miracle workers they are."

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Even for those lucky enough to be miles away from the fires, smoke is now a fact of life.

Reddit | ffsdontaskme

This shot is from Ballarat, which is 125 miles away.

Many questions have been raised about the longterm health effects of breathing so much smoke, with some people comparing it to smoking several cigarettes per day.

However, while health officials agree that the smoke can aggravate asthma and other health conditions, the longterm effects are unlikely to be the same. Bushfire smoke doesn't contain the same chemicals or pollutants as cigarettes.

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These photos show a wildlife sanctuary in Canberra before and after the fires hit the region.

Twitter user Alex Knight shared the heartbreaking photos which show a once lush field now reduced to a dry, barren wasteland.

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The small holiday and fishing town of Mallacoota has been greatly affected by the Wingan River bushfire.

Travel Victoria / Twitter | @bluesfestblues

Twitter user Daniel shared the disturbing second image, seen above, on December 30 after his father and 2,000 other residents gathered at the wharf to avoid the inferno.

ABC later reported that a Norwegian-flagged supply vessel answered an SOS call from Victoria's emergency services and arrived at Mallacoota, offering much-needed supplies to all those huddled on the beach.

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The town's Old Genoa Bridge was completely burned away.

Though the images of Mallacoota bathed in red and smoke are some of the more dramatic we've seen, the town was lucky in the end. About 100 homes were destroyed and there was no power, but a lucky change in the wind spared the town center.

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The village of Cobargo in NSW was also ravaged by bushfires where three people died and dozens of others lost their homes.

According to ABC News, residents said the fires "[roared] like the ocean," prompting one local to exclaim, "This is what hell looks like."

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The sky is orange and the sand at Tathra Beach in NSW has turned black as ashes from the bushfires wash ashore.

Reddit | jaxond24

Bega District News reported Tathra's surf club has been used as an emergency evacuation point, becoming a relatively safe haven for residents and tourists being evacuated from nearby towns.

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Kangaroo Island was once a haven for Australia's rare wildlife, and now a third of it has gone up in flames.

Instagram | @ajcx89 / Facebook

CNN reported that NASA estimates 155,000 hectares of the island has been scorched by the wildfires, which has been branded "an ecological tragedy."

The island is also exclusively home to the endangered Kangaroo Island dunnart, as well as the glossy black cockatoo, which was brought back from the brink of extinction over the last two decades.

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Here's a resort on Kangaroo Island, which rented rooms for as much as $2000 per night.

Reddit | jordlach

Ecologists estimate a staggering 25,000 koalas have died in the fires on Kangaroo Island — more than half its population in the region.

Click here to donate to RSPCA NWS' bushfire relief fund.

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