Things That Matter

Pictures Speak Louder Than Words—18 Photos That Show Just How Devastating Australia’s Bushfires Have Been

Bushfires across Australia have shown no sign of slowing down, forcing the evacuation of entire towns and shutting down major highways along the way. At least 17 people have died since the bushfire season began in August and millions of animals have been killed across some 19,300 square miles of devastation. For nearby towns and cities, a toxic cloud of smoke poses an ongoing health threat to residents, forcing many to wear ventilation masks when outdoors. The 2019–2020 Australian bushfire season marks the most destructive and widespread season in the country’s history.

Exhausted firefighters are facing at least two more months on the frontline before the horrific and unprecedented bushfire season shows any sign of letting up. 

Thousands of homes have been lost and authorities estimate at least half a billion animals —whether native Australian or livestock relied on by farmers— have been killed in the fires.

Most of the nation’s cities and towns are also or have been, blanketed in thick, hazardous bushfire smoke.

But words and statistics aside, nothing explains the horror locals and firefighters are dealing with, more poignantly than pictures.To show you just how serious the situation is, we made a list of images that prove that things are absolutely terrifying in the Land Down Under. A warning, some of the following photos are graphic.

Fire fighters are saving people, animals, and homes in Australia

Australia glows like lava after being consumed by bushfire

Over 1 billion animals feared dead in Australian wildfires

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???? Donating to help Australian Wild Life ???? . Hi there!! First of all: I am so sorry for not wishing you a HAPPY NEW YEAR so far! . The first day of January I was still recovering – I must confess???? – from an amazing night out with friends. The second day I got a message from my friends “down under” aka Australia, saying how bad the situation had become. Ever since, I have been taking a look into it and could not keep my mind off it???? Turtlee Green started because of the beauty Australia showed me ???????? . That is why I decide to DONATE at least 10% of the sales in January of the webshop to the Wildlife Centre of Mallacoota. That story struck me the most: On NYE people had to gather at the beach and had to be evacuated by boat. There was no other way out since all the escape routes had gone up in flames. I cannot imagine how terrifying that must have been. Sadly, the animals did not have the opportunity. If you want to donate yourself: I’ve putted the link up in my bio! Other great organizations to donate to: to support the volunteer firefighters????‍???? My lovely friend @me_and_mrb adopted a Koala for my birthday 2years ago ????they do amazing work in preserving Wildife ???? . Before I forget. 3 virtual kisses to everybody out there that has made Turtlee Green possible, without you I could not be helping right now???????? I wish you all the best in 2020 ???????????? . #australianfires #prayforaustralia???????? #donating #goodcause #turtleegreen #zerowaste #greenmovement

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Last week, an ecologist at the University of Sydney estimated that nearly half a billion animals had been wiped out since Australia’s devastating wildfires started spreading in September. Now, he says that number has soared to over 800 million in New South Wales and over 1 billion nationally. 

A kangaroo that died trying to escape 

A juvenile kangaroo tragically caught on a fence trying to escape the devastating Cudlee Creek fire in South Australia. Locals Terry Reardon and Joan Gibbs managed to save their Fox Creek Rd property although the entire area around was burnt, killing hundreds of native animals. 

Thousands of firefighters are battling fires for hours on end

No filters. Australia is red from wildfires.

You know it’s serious when wild animals ask human for help

Matrix for Daily Mail Australia

The Kangaroo Is Drenched In Water After Approaching A Human For Help

Bushfire evacuation

Thick plumes of smoke rise from bushfires along the coast of East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia, on January 4 

Australian Maritime Safety Authority via Reuters

Burned animal carcasses lie along the road 

The New Batlow Hotel via Reuters

After bushfires swept through Batlow, New South Wales, Australia, on January 5, dozens of animals were seen dead along the road. This image is from a video taken through a car window.

A local shelters near a wharf in Mallacoota, Victoria, where horrific bushfires turned the sky blood red. 

The Australia Flag flies under red skies

Getting away from the fires in Mallacoota

Finn Burns, one of the many kids to flee the Mallacoota fires via water. The terrifying photo went global.

Rubble everywhere

The rubble of buildings sits on the ground after they were destroyed by fire, in Cobargo, New South Wales, Australia. 

Cow lies dead in Coogalite

Cars are melting in the fires

Charred cars line the streets of NSW

Like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie

The fires are hot enough to melt vehicles

Molten metal running from a burnt-out car in Victoria.

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Texas Mother Loses Three Children And Their Grandmother To A Fire They Made While Attempting To Stay Warm Amidst Power Outages

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Texas Mother Loses Three Children And Their Grandmother To A Fire They Made While Attempting To Stay Warm Amidst Power Outages

Elizabeth Castaneda / Getty

The consequences of the widespread power outages in Texas have been beyond devastating to the state who has endured unrelenting winter weather made worse by an inferior infrastructure. Power and water outages have raged across the state last week as a result of an unusual deep freeze that has pushed many into survival mode.

Sadly, while Texas is beginning to receive relief, the Nguyen family has been faced with the unimaginable.

Jackie Pham Nguyen is the only survivor of a house fire that killed her three children and grandmother.

Nguyen was with her three children in their home in the Houston suburb of Sugar Land, Texas when the power went out at her mother Loan Le’s house. That Monday, Nguyen welcomed her mother into her home, located just five miles away, and where she and her children Olivia, 11, Edison, 8, and Colette, 5, still had power.

“We thought we were really lucky because we still had power until the early evening,” Nguyen said in an interview with CNN. After losing power just a few hours later, Nguyen says she and her family members settled down, lit their fireplace, and played board and card games. When 9:30 p.m. rolled around, everyone headed to sleep.

“Tucked my kids into bed and really the next thing I know I’m in the hospital,” Nguyen told CNN. “A few hours later the fireman and police officer came and said that no one else made it.”

Nguyen says she has little recollection of what happened but remembers being unable to get upstairs to her children’s bedrooms.

Nguyen’s room, which was located on her first floor where her bedroom is and yelled for her kids. “I was just standing there screaming and screaming and screaming their names hoping they would come out of their rooms and basically jump over so that we could get out,” she explained. “I just remember feeling like it was so dark and I can still kind of hear everything crackling around me.”

Coco, Edison and Olivia Nguyen all died in the fire.

Nguyen said she doesn’t remember much more of what happened but Doug Adolph, a spokesperson for the city of Sugar Land, told CNN that she “had to be physically restrained from running back into the house.”

According to Adolph, Nguyen’s neighborhood was without power for at least eight hours. The fire department arrived around 2 a.m. Tuesday and it took nearly an hour to get the fire fully under control.

“The family had posted on social media that they were attempting to stay warm by using a fireplace inside the home,” Adolph said, adding that the cause of the fire has not yet been determined and may never be. “We can’t say for sure that was the cause of the fire. We just don’t know yet,” he explained. “It’s possible that the investigation may never identify an exact cause.”

Nguyen suffered burns on her hands, but explained in an interview that the loss of her children and her mother is devastating

“My heart is broken,” she explained to CNN. “I’m never gonna be the same… I’m in this crisis tactical mode now and I’m just really focused on all these final arrangements because this is the last sort of thing I’m going to do for my kids.”

Speaking about her children, Nguyen describes them as having big personalities and hearts.

“My kids were such phenomenal, amazing, little badass humans,” she said of her children. “Colette is just a little firecracker and she has so much charisma… she also, as a 5-year-old, had that level of confidence. She was never afraid, totally unapologetic, not intimidated.”

“Obviously I mourn losing them,” Nguyen told CNN. “But I feel like it’s honestly a tragic loss for the world that these kids don’t get to like live up to their potential and contribute to society in the way that they could have.”

A GoFundMe page for the family has already brought in $342,387 in donations. Nguyen says she hopes to use the money to build an organization or foundation.

“I want to do something lasting for them,” Nguyen said. “I really want to be thoughtful about it because I want it to be lasting and meaningful. … I owe it to everybody’s support and their intentions to not be hasty about how those resources are used.”

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Two Teen Girls Died in a Suspicious House Fire During a Sleepover After a Quinceañera; Police Suspect Foul Play

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Two Teen Girls Died in a Suspicious House Fire During a Sleepover After a Quinceañera; Police Suspect Foul Play


On November 22nd, Lisa Treviño received news that is every mother’s worst nightmare. Police officers came to Treviño’s house and informed her that two teenage girls had died in a fire at a nearby apartment.

One of the girls was her daughter, 15-year-old Azalyia “YaYa” Hernandez. The other victim was her friend, 16-year-old Eliza “Ellie” Maurer.

Pictured: Azalyia Hernandez. Credit: Britny Cranford via GoFundMe

The girls were sophomores at Fredericksburg High School. The night started out like a typical weekend for any teenager: Hernandez told her mother that she was going to go to a sleepover with Maurer after they had both attended a quinceañera with her family earlier that day.

“I’m the type that when my kids aren’t at home, I’m the type that calls them. And I can’t go to sleep until I hear from them that they’re okay,” Treviño told Spectrum News 1. “I told her, ‘Okay, Azalyia, make good choices, think good choices and I love you.’ And the last text I got, ‘I will mom. I love you too.'” That was the last communication Treviño had with her daughter.

The Maurer family is also coping with their grief. They released a statement, saying: “We are shocked and devastated at the news of our daughter’s death. Ellie (Eliza) was a beautiful child. She loved playing basketball and volleyball. She had a spunky personality and was a social butterfly. Ellie was loved by her friends and family. We still cannot believe this happened. We have been so blessed by the outpouring of support by friends, family and the community and we are incredibly thankful for that.”

Pictured: Eliza Maurer; Credit: @1.ellie.m/Instagram

According to the Sorola-Treviño family, police suspect foul play was involved.

“As with all deaths, they are treated as a homicide until proven otherwise,” said Fredericksburg Chief of Police Steven Wetz to Spectrum News 1.

According to Treviño, police told her that the girls’ bodies were found in a bedroom. The Fredericksburg Police Department says that the primary causes of both deaths was smoke inhalation. Evidence points to the fire having been started on a couch.

“The very first thing that they told us was that they found them nude and that there was foul play, and there was some suspects who had run from the apartment,” said Gary Sorola, Hernandez’s stepfather, to Fox 7 Austin.

It is still unknown why the girls were at the apartment building, but the Sorola-Treviño family say that the girls knew the son of the woman who rents the apartment.

The Fredericksburg community is shaken by the death of the two girls. Both of the girls’ families are devastated. The victims’ families and friends said the two girls had big plans for the future. Ellie wanted to become a lawyer, while YaYa wanted to join the Air Force and work with K-9s before becoming a nurse.

December 14th would have been Azalyia’s 16th birthday. But now, her mother will have to endure what should have been a happy day without her daughter.

“Now she’s gone and I’m not gonna have a chance to ever see her grow or accomplish what she wanted to accomplish. She’s gone. They took her from me too young,” Treviño said.

Police are asking anyone with information about the night in question (November 21st) to come forward. Contact them at 830-997-7585 or call Crime Stoppers at 997-8477 (TIPS).

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