Firefighters have shared hair-raising footage of what it’s like to drive into the heart of a bushfire, as they battle an “unprecedented” number of emergency level blazes burning across New South Wales.
The footage, shared by the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS), was taken from inside a fire truck on Friday as crews drove into Holdens Lane at Rainbow Flat, just north of Forster on the state’s mid-north coast.
It shows a narrow road flanked by flames, some reaching metres into the air as they lick up blackened trees and spread across the ground.
At times the road completely disappears under a thick plume of smoke, but the crews power on.
“There’s the house to the left,” one crew member says, as the video pans to a hazy rectangular shadow barely visible just a few metres away.
“This shows the dangerous conditions that have confronted firefighters today,” the NSW RFS said.
Firefighters warned they were in “uncharted territory” on Friday as they battled more than 15 emergency-level fires across the state.
More than 80 fires were still burning as evening fell in New South Wales, while dozens more raged in Queensland.
“We’ve never seen this many fires concurrently at emergency warning level,” NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.
As crews prepared for a late night, at least two houses had been confirmed lost and there were early reports of a number of injuries and people trapped in their homes.
Earlier in the day, residents shared eerie scenes on social media of a blood red sky over Port Macquarie.
“Port Macquarie currently showing a smoky preview of the apocalypse,” one user, Jack Begbie, wrote.
“Raining ash and embers. Pretty much just waiting for lucifer to arrive and take me to hell,” another user, Michael, said.
Meanwhile above the clouds, Sydney man Matt Hope shared this bird’s-eye-view of the fires from his Sydney to Brisbane flight.
“So frightening for the poor people among it,” he said.
Brisbane man Trevor Vale also shared footage of the fire and dust near Tenterfield, on the border between Queensland and New South Wales.
The fire danger is expected to ease over the weekend, offering a brief reprieve for firefighters as temperatures cool.
But the Bureau of Meteorology says conditions will worsen again on Tuesday or Wednesday next week.