More than 200 homes have burned down in deadly bushfires racing along the Australian coast. At least 43 homes were destroyed in East Gippsland, Victoria, while another 176 were lost in New South Wales.

Australia Fires

On Tuesday, thousands of people who were unable to evacuate fled to beaches as fires encircled their towns.

Conditions have eased slightly, and a major road that was closed in Victoria was reopened for two hours on Wednesday to allow people to leave.

But in the early hours of New Year’s Day, there were still 112 fires burning in New South Wales alone.

In Victoria, there were 45 bushfire warnings with one emergency – later downgraded to a “watch and act” warning.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said workers would take advantage of the milder weather to clear roads and restore power.

But she said temperatures were expected to rise again on Saturday.

A 63-year-old man and his 29-year-old son died after staying behind to defend their home and farm equipment, police said.

Another man was found in burnt-out car in the early hours of New Year’s Day, while another two deaths were announced in a news conference on Wednesday.

The deaths brings the total of fire-related fatalities across Australia this season to 15.

The fire service warned they had been unable to reach some people in remote areas.

“We’ve got reports of injuries and burn injuries to members of the public,” said New South Wales rural fire commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons.

Victoria Emergency Commissioner Andrew Crisp said “a large barge” was sailing from Melbourne to Mallacoota with food, water and 30,000 litres of fuel.

In Cann River, a town around 80km (50 miles) inland from Mallacoota, residents warned that food supplies were running low.

Further north in Ulladulla, New South Wales, people were queuing outside supermarkets – while cuts to mobile networks and landlines meant people also waited to use payphones.

On Tuesday, the Australian government said the military would send extra planes, helicopters and boats to help the emergency services in New South Wales and Victoria.

The military said amphibious ships were setting off from Sydney and would arrive in fire-hit coastal areas of New South Wales and Victoria by Friday.

Meanwhile, a woman from Mallacoota who took a photo that went viral has spoken about the image.

Allison Marion took the picture of her 11-year-old son, Finn, driving their family to safety in a powerboat.

When the family returned to land, as conditions eased, they went to check on their home.

“Our street somehow escaped the fire somehow,” she said. “However, I feel for many people in our community who have lost their homes. It’s just truly saddening.”

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