Inferno Ahead: Disquieting Scenes from the Blue Mountains Bushfires

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Smoke rises through trees
Image: Gary Hayes
Fire burns ominously in a valley.

Yet another fire broke out close to the Mount Victoria settlement in the western City of Blue Mountains area. It spread rapidly and burnt down seven houses. On October 21 overnight back burning meant that the fire was amalgamated with the State Mine blaze. The fire burned 22,000 acres (9,000 hectares) of land. Smaller fires also burned in the Hawkesbury region, spreading over a 9,900-acre (4,000-hectare) area.

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Sun behind smoke
Image: Gary Hayes
The sun shines through thick clouds of smoke.

On October 21 the 56 fires that burned all around New South Wales were so threatening that a state of emergency was declared. In the Blue Mountains, fire services and residents were dreading a “mega-fire” created by the convergence of various fires in the area. It was feared that this gigantic fire would lead to dangerous and unpredictable events. Blue Mountains residents were warned to prepare for evacuation, both for their own safety and to lower the risks for responding firefighters.

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