Residents who have lost their homes and livelihoods are describing the devastation as apocalyptic.

And for some, it could be days, even weeks, until they’re allowed back into their communities.

Mackenzie Lyon reports.


For many residents the extent of the loss was incomprehensible.

Resident: “I cried, sorry.”

Susan Templeman’s house in the Blue Mountains was completely destroyed.

Her 19 year-old son was inside, as flames lapped the door step. He escaped in the nick of time.

Susan Templemen, Bushfire victim: “We keep saying we’re so lucky. It really could have been much worse. And you know, it’s just stuff. Easily replaced.”

Brett and Leila believed they were safe from the smoke in the distance. But before they knew it, the fire was upon them.

Brett, Bushfire victim: “Then as I’m getting dressed the neighbour from across the road knocked on my door and said “mate it’s coming, the fire’s coming”. We ran down two doors and spoke to another neighbour who’s part of the CFU – Community Fire Unit. He said, “nah there’s no point fighting.””

Andre Mondon lives in one of the worst hit areas south-west of Sydney.

The motoring enthusiast was forced to watch as the flames obliterated his beloved collection of cars.

The silver lining, fire fighters managed to save his home.

Andre Mondon, Bushfire victim: “When I looked out there I saw the smoke, I had to get out, they wouldn’t even let me take anything out of here. I can understand why mate, I really can.”

Photos flooded social media, showing Sydney blanketed in dark plumes of smoke and ash.

The skies above the city a glowing auburn hue the result of smoke clouds scattering the blue light in the sky.

Health experts warn smoke particles in the air, can travel hundreds of kilometres.

The pollution can cause itchy or burning eyes, throat irritation or a runny nose, and aggravate existing illnesses including bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.

Children, older adults, and people with heart and lung conditions are most at risk.

A high pressure system across New South Wales brought light winds today which will continue into Saturday, a big help for fire fighters.

But the hot weather and winds look set to pick back up, by the start of the week.

So the crisis is far from over.

Mackenzie Lyon, QUT News.