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The Australian wildfires tragedy in pictures

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The flight deck of a C-130J Hercules aircraft prepares to land at Merimbula airfield to deploy Fire and Rescue crews.
The flight deck of a C-130J Hercules aircraft prepares to land at Merimbula airfield to deploy Fire and Rescue crews.   -   Copyright  © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence (SGT Christopher Dickson/ADF via AP)
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The startling images that have been streaming out of southern Australia for the last few weeks have been nothing short of apocalyptic.

Some of the worst wildfires in history have killed at least 24 people and destroyed about 2,000 homes.

Over the past weekend 3,000 reservists were called up by the country's prime minister, while strong winds and high temperatures were forecast to carry flames to populated areas including the suburbs of Sydney.

Since September 2019, more than 12 million acres of land in Australia have been scorched and an estimated 480 million animals have died in the fires, according to Chris Dickman from The University of Sydney.

Rick Rycroft/AP Photo
Firefighters drag their water hose after putting out a spot fire near Moruya, Australia, Saturday, 4 January, 2020.Rick Rycroft/AP Photo
Rick Rycroft/AP Photo
A firefighting crew battle a fire near Burrill Lake, Australia, 5 January 2020Rick Rycroft/AP Photo
State Government of Victoria via AP
A helicopter tackles a wildfire in East Gippsland, Victoria state, Australia. Wildfires burning across Australia's two most-populous states trapped residents of a seaside town in apocalyptic conditions. 31 December 2019.State Government of Victoria via AP
Dan Himbrechts/AAP Image
Rural Fire Service crews fight the Gospers Mountain Fire as it impacts a structure at Bilpin.Dan Himbrechts/AAP Image
Dan Himbrechts/AAP Images via AP
NSW Rural Fire Service crew fight the Gospers Mountain Fire as it impacts a property at Bilpin, New South Wales state, Australia.Dan Himbrechts/AAP Images via AP
Dana Mitchell/Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park via AP
A rescued koala injured in a bushfire in Kangaroo Island, South Australia.Dana Mitchell/Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park via AP
© Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence (Able Seaman Thomas Sawtell/ADF via AP)
A Royal Australian Navy Seahawk Helicopter departs from HMAS Adelaide while at sea off Australia’s east coast during operations to assist in battling wildfires. 5 January 2020© Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence (Able Seaman Thomas Sawtell/ADF via AP)
© Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence (Corporal Nicole Dorrett/ADF via AP)
A woman and 3 children prepare to board an Australian Army Blackhawk helicopter at Omeo for evacuation from the wildfire affected area.© Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence (Corporal Nicole Dorrett/ADF via AP)
Rick Rycroft/AP Photo
Rosemary Doyle stands in her destroyed home at Balmoral, Australia. 7 January 2020.Rick Rycroft/AP Photo
Rick Rycroft/AP Photos
Justin Kam and Helena Wong built their home with reinforced glass, steel framing and rock surrounds to protect them from the wildfires. But as they stayed home and battled flames that soared as high as a 15-story building, they realized they were in mortal danger.Rick Rycroft/AP Photos
Rick Rycroft/AP Photos
Justin Kam holds a sushi knife that has a wine bottle and plate fused to after a fire destroyed his home at Balmoral, Australia. 7 January 2020.Rick Rycroft/AP Photos
Rick Rycroft/AP Photo
Timbers from a small bridge smoulder after a fire destroyed the crossing near Burrill Lake, Australia, Sunday, 5 January 5, 2020.Rick Rycroft/AP PhotoRick Rycroft
Rick Rycroft/AP Photo
Houses are flattened at Conjola Park, Australia. 5 January 2020, after recent wildfires ripped through the community.Rick Rycroft/AP PhotoRick Rycroft
Rick Rycroft/AP Photo
A truck is burnt out and a house destroyed at Conjola Park, Australia, after recent wildfires ripped through the community. 5 January 2020.Rick Rycroft/AP PhotoRick Rycroft
Robert Oerlemans/AP
Boats are pulled ashore as smoke and wildfires rage behind Lake Conjola, Australia, 2 January 2020. Thousands of tourists fled Australia's wildfire-ravaged eastern coast Thursday ahead of worsening conditions.Robert Oerlemans/APRobert Oerlemans
James Ross/AAP Images via AP
A burnt-out residence is seen in Sarsfield, East Gippsland, Victoria. 31 December 2019James Ross/AAP Images via APJames Ross
Adam Mudge/AP
A household in South Australia gave shelter to koalas threatened by the bush firesAdam Mudge/AP
Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data [2019], processed by Pierre Markuse. CC BY 2.0
Bushfires near Batemans Bay, New South Wales, Australia. 31 December 2019Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data [2019], processed by Pierre Markuse. CC BY 2.0