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Shocking pictures show devastating bushfires’ destruction of Tathra

Cars gutted, houses razed to the ground and a blackened garden gate left clanging in the breeze.

Apocalyptic pictures show how last night’s devastating bushfires have annihilated the sea-side town of Tathra on the New South Wales south coast.

One image shows a house so destroyed that kitchen appliances including a charred washing machine are left in the open air.

Others show debris strewn across ashen backyards left with creaking trampoline frames and smouldering swings.

The damage is so comprehensive that assessors will need until at least Tuesday to estimate its value, a spokesman for The Insurance Council of Australia told the Daily Mail. The figure is feared to be in the multi millions.

Up to 70 homes have been destroyed and 39 damaged by the 1000-hectare fire as residents are still kept away while firefighters make the area safe.

Devastation: These confronting pictures show how last night’s devastating bushfires have ruined the sea-side town of Tathra

Annihilation: Up to 70 properties, including a popular caravan park, were ravaged by the 1000-hectare fire on the New South Wales south coast

Annihilation: Up to 70 properties, including a popular caravan park, were ravaged by the 1000-hectare fire on the New South Wales south coast

One image shows a house so destroyed that kitchen appliances including a charred washing machine are left in the open air

One image shows a house so destroyed that kitchen appliances including a charred washing machine are left in the open air

This image shows debris strewn across black backyards left with creaking trampoline frames and smouldering swings 

This image shows debris strewn across black backyards left with creaking trampoline frames and smouldering swings 

 Residents have been traumatised by the speed of the flames which took barely half an hour to cross the Bega River and hit the Tathra area. Pictured: One building left in ruins

 Residents have been traumatised by the speed of the flames which took barely half an hour to cross the Bega River and hit the Tathra area. Pictured: One building left in ruins

The damage is so comprehensive that assessors will need until at least Tuesday to estimate its value, a spokesman for The Insurance Council of Australia told the Daily Mail. Pictured: A garden gate is left after the destruction

The damage is so comprehensive that assessors will need until at least Tuesday to estimate its value, a spokesman for The Insurance Council of Australia told the Daily Mail. Pictured: A garden gate is left after the destruction

'It's horrible but it could have been a lot, lot worse,' one resident said early on Monday morning. Pictured: A van is left gutted

‘It’s horrible but it could have been a lot, lot worse,’ one resident said early on Monday morning. Pictured: A van is left gutted

'They're all in tears, they have lost everything,' a caretaker at an evacuation centre said of residents who have lost homes

‘They’re all in tears, they have lost everything,’ a caretaker at an evacuation centre said of residents who have lost homes

'Our early indications are that the number of buildings impacted is likely to climb above 70,' RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said on Monday. Picture: A fireman hoses down smouldering rubble

‘Our early indications are that the number of buildings impacted is likely to climb above 70,’ RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said on Monday. Picture: A fireman hoses down smouldering rubble

The blaze burned through several kilometres of bushland and crossed a river before reaching the township and was still out of control on Monday afternoon

The blaze burned through several kilometres of bushland and crossed a river before reaching the township and was still out of control on Monday afternoon

Bega Valley mayor Kristy McBain said on Monday there was a 'level of helplessness as residents wait for information on what the real impact [of the fire] will be'.

Bega Valley mayor Kristy McBain said on Monday there was a ‘level of helplessness as residents wait for information on what the real impact [of the fire] will be’.

Authorities are assessing damage to critical infrastructure including water, sewerage and roads. Pictured: A gutted house

Authorities are assessing damage to critical infrastructure including water, sewerage and roads. Pictured: A gutted house

Written off: A car is left gutted after the fire ravaged the sea-side town of Tathra on Sunday night and Monday morning

Written off: A car is left gutted after the fire ravaged the sea-side town of Tathra on Sunday night and Monday morning

Communication has been hampered after mobile phone towers collapsed, with Tathra only receiving five per cent of mobile phone coverage on Monday. Pictured: A destroyed house

Communication has been hampered after mobile phone towers collapsed, with Tathra only receiving five per cent of mobile phone coverage on Monday. Pictured: A destroyed house

Debris and rubble was left strewn across the land as residents waited to return to see the extent of the damage to their homes

Debris and rubble was left strewn across the land as residents waited to return to see the extent of the damage to their homes

Some of the houses which had incredible views of the sea were left totally destroyed after the blazing inferno on Sunday

Some of the houses which had incredible views of the sea were left totally destroyed after the blazing inferno on Sunday

The Insurance Council of Australia has declared the fire a 'catastrophe', meaning claims by those affected by the blaze will be given priority. Pictured: A fireman at the scene

The Insurance Council of Australia has declared the fire a ‘catastrophe’, meaning claims by those affected by the blaze will be given priority. Pictured: A fireman at the scene

PM Mr Turnbull has urged those in fire-ravaged areas to follow the advice and directions of the emergency management authorities. Pictured: A house in ruins

PM Mr Turnbull has urged those in fire-ravaged areas to follow the advice and directions of the emergency management authorities. Pictured: A house in ruins

Residents have been traumatised by the speed of the flames which took barely half an hour to cross the Bega River and hit the Tathra area.

‘It’s horrible but it could have been a lot, lot worse,’ one resident said early on Monday morning. 

‘They’re all in tears, they have lost everything,’ a caretaker at the evacuation centre said.

‘Our early indications are that the number of buildings impacted is likely to climb above 70,’ RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said on Monday.

‘But we will confirm that with the work of the building impact assessment teams this morning.      

A seaside town has been left devastated after a fast-moving bushfire ripped through dozens of homes and businesses (pictured)

A seaside town has been left devastated after a fast-moving bushfire ripped through dozens of homes and businesses (pictured)

Up to 70 properties, including a popular caravan park, in Tathra east of Bega on the New South Wales far south coast, have been destroyed

Up to 70 properties, including a popular caravan park, in Tathra east of Bega on the New South Wales far south coast, have been destroyed

The fast-moving blaze broke out on Sunday, and firefighters who fought the inferno described embers the size of tennis balls falling on the picturesque town

The fast-moving blaze broke out on Sunday, and firefighters who fought the inferno described embers the size of tennis balls falling on the picturesque town

Residents took to social media to share photographs of the raging bushfire tearing through the town of Tathra, destroying up to 70 properties

Residents took to social media to share photographs of the raging bushfire tearing through the town of Tathra, destroying up to 70 properties

Aerial photographs taken on Monday morning showed the remains of dozens of burnt out homes and properties still smouldering

Aerial photographs taken on Monday morning showed the remains of dozens of burnt out homes and properties still smouldering

Shocked residents of the town of Tathra woke up to scenes of devastation on Monday morning with cars and homes ruined

Shocked residents of the town of Tathra woke up to scenes of devastation on Monday morning with cars and homes ruined

‘We have this awful situation throughout the community of Tathra, where we have damaged buildings, damaged homes, and infrastructure.’

He has described the blaze as a ‘firestorm’.

‘It was raining fire embers through the township – there were spot fires starting all throughout the streets of the town,’ he told 2GB Radio.

The blaze burned through several kilometres of bushland and crossed a river before reaching the township and is still out of control.

NSW Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rodgers said the situation around the coastal town of Tathra was dire

NSW Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rodgers said the situation around the coastal town of Tathra was dire

Bega Valley mayor Kristy McBain said on Monday there was a ‘level of helplessness as residents wait for information on what the real impact [of the fire] will be’.

‘No lives were lost, which is the best news possible,’ Ms McBain said.

She says authorities are assessing damage to critical infrastructure including water, sewerage and roads.

After visiting the Bega evacuation centre at the Showground early on Monday, Ms McBain said ‘the community is already banding together’.

Communication has been hampered after mobile phone towers collapsed, with Tathra only receiving five per cent of mobile phone coverage on Monday.

People who are south of the Bega River are being advised to seek shelter, with many of the roads in and out of the area already blocked

People who are south of the Bega River are being advised to seek shelter, with many of the roads in and out of the area already blocked

Up to 70 homes have already been destroyed in the small coastal town in New South Wales (pictured is a home in Tathra)

The out-of-control bushfire has already destroyed 70 homes  in the small coastal town, as residents evacuated on Sunday

Up to 70 homes have already been destroyed in the small coastal town in New South Wales (pictured is a home in Tathra)

How the Tathra bushfire disaster unfolded

SATURDAY

– New South Wales residents warned of dangerous fire conditions for Sunday

SUNDAY

– Total fire bans enforced for more than half the state

– Five bushfires begin burning near Bega, 20km northwest of Tathra

– Fires spread quickly in extremely hot, windy conditions

– One fire begins at Tarraganda, east of Bega, about midday and is soon out of control

– Driven by 50 to 60km/h winds, gusting to 90km/h, it burns towards the coast

– Tracts of bushland are consumed and the fire front reaches the Bega River

– In 30 minutes it jumps the river in two places

– Tathra residents are warned it’s too late to leave at 5pm as flames take hold on Tathra’s northern outskirts

– Tathra was the ‘epicentre’ of the fire, the Rural Fire Service said

– Flying embers set properties alight well ahead of the fire front

– Properties just metres from the shoreline are destroyed

– Spot blazes take hold in the sand dunes and fire ravages the Tathra headland

– A southerly change arrives in the evening and conditions ease

MONDAY

– Early assessment by the Rural Fire Services reveals up to 70 homes and other buildings have been destroyed

– That figure is expected to rise as assessment teams move in

– No-one has been reported missing so far

– Many residents at an evacuation centre at the Bega Showground, 16km inland, and Tathra schools are closed

– Fire crews are gaining ground in the fight to contain the fire

– 150 firefighters battled the blaze overnight

– So far it has burnt more than 1000 hectares

 Source :AAP

Meanwhile, Premier Gladys Berejiklian says her government will do what it can to help affected residents.

She thanked firefighters for their efforts and plans to visit the area herself as soon as possible.

‘So many homes lost and people displaced in quite a shocking way, I can imagine it is only beginning to sink in and the next few days will be tough.

‘I want everybody to know that we will do everything we can to make it easier for them,” Ms Berejiklian said on Monday.

The Insurance Council of Australia has declared the fire a ‘catastrophe’, meaning claims by those affected by the blaze will be given priority.

An entire town is under threat of being completely wiped out by an out of control bushfire with an emergency warning in place

An entire town is under threat of being completely wiped out by an out of control bushfire with an emergency warning in place

While the threat level was downgraded late on Sunday night after a southerly wind change helped ease hot conditions, flare-ups on Monday remain a concern. 

Hundreds of residents in the town, which has a population of about 1600, slept in an evacuation centre in Bega or in their cars.

The collapse of the mobile phone tower has made it difficult to determine how many people remained in the town.

There’ll be no rest for firefighters as the fire ‘remains very active and needs to be contained and consolidated today’, Mr Fitzsimmons said.

‘It’s still a very dynamic situation. There’s a lot of very active fire edge to the north of the fire ground.’

Two dozen fire crews are battling the blaze which is affecting the area from Tathra to Tarraganda as strong winds pushed the fire into Tathra after crossing the Bega River

Two dozen fire crews are battling the blaze which is affecting the area from Tathra to Tarraganda as strong winds pushed the fire into Tathra after crossing the Bega River

The NSW RFS said on Sunday a total of 26 bush and grass fires were burning across the state, 12 of them were not contained

The NSW RFS said on Sunday a total of 26 bush and grass fires were burning across the state, 12 of them were not contained

More than 100 active firefighters working with aircraft and bulldozers are ‘trying to gain the upper hand’ on the fire. 

Ms McBain said the town’s roads, water system and sewage treatment plant were also damaged.

‘There are no reports of any loss of life, so it will be very much about trying to track these people down,’ Ms McBain told AAP.  

Hundreds of residents and tourists fled to evacuation centres in Bega and Bermagui, after access to Tathra cut off, to spend the night waiting for news.

Assessment teams are due to arrive in the area on early Monday to inspect properties and confirm the damage.

Two dozen fire crews are battling the blaze which is affecting the area from Tathra to Tarraganda as strong winds pushed the fire into Tathra after crossing the Bega River

Two dozen fire crews are battling the blaze which is affecting the area from Tathra to Tarraganda as strong winds pushed the fire into Tathra after crossing the Bega River

The full extent of the damage in Tathra won't be known until the Building Impact Assessment Teams arrive

The full extent of the damage in Tathra won’t be known until the Building Impact Assessment Teams arrive

Tathra Beach Motor Village said it had experienced ‘significant’ damage and would be closed until further notice.

The blaze tore through its front office and reception area but management wasn’t able to confirm what other parts had been affected.

‘This is a very dire and devastating situation for all involved,’ a post on the park’s Facebook page said.

Tathra Public School, Bega High School, Tanja Public School and Bournda Environmental Education Centre will all be closed on Monday.  

Temperatures are expected to reach 30C in the Bega region on Tuesday, with light easterly winds in the afternoon. 

Twiiter user Avon Perera's wife took these photos as the family evacuated the town of Tathra as fire raged around them

Twiiter user Avon Perera’s wife took these photos as the family evacuated the town of Tathra as fire raged around them

On Sunday South East Regional Hospital reported an influx of patients suffering from smoke inhalation.

David Lamb posted to Facebook they had been ‘crazy busy’.

‘Lots of smoke inhalation cases but no burns so far, thank God. Some of the nurses here have lost their homes but they are still working helping others,’ he said. 

He made contact with his family soon after the alert was put out, a reminder of how important it is to remain in contact with family and friends if possible.  

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull spoke of the situation in his closing address at the ASEAN Summit on Sunday afternoon.

Pictured is a resident's view from the road out of the town of Tathra as much of the population evacuated on Sunday afternoon

Pictured is a resident’s view from the road out of the town of Tathra as much of the population evacuated on Sunday afternoon

A spokesman for the New South Wales RFS Greg Allen said fire crews were being assisted by water bombing aircraft

A spokesman for the New South Wales RFS Greg Allen said fire crews were being assisted by water bombing aircraft

Mr Turnbull urged those in fire-ravaged areas to follow the advice and directions of the emergency management authorities.

‘Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who have been affected,’ he said.

‘Obviously it’s a very dynamic situation. There is no reports at this stage of casualties but there are thousands of hectares that have been burnt and a very large number of stock of sheep and cattle have been destroyed as well. 

‘I want to thank all of the state emergency services, the firefighters, the volunteers who are working tirelessly. I urge everyone to follow the advice and direction of the emergency management authorities. Your safety is their first priority.’

More than 22 fires are burning across New South Wales on Monday. 

Most of Tathra was evacuated as it is feared the fire could burn through the entire town which has a population of 1622 people

Most of Tathra was evacuated as it is feared the fire could burn through the entire town which has a population of 1622 people



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