One Australian Air Force pilot is revealing the bone-chilling conditions the country's rescuers are facing as they race to battle the wildfires which have already consumed over six million hectares of land.
On Sunday, Air Vice-Marshal Joe Lervasi posted a video showing from the cockpit of his RAAF plane of what it's like to fly over the Australian infernos, including the mephitic smoke challenging their relief efforts. The eerie footage captured during Saturday's evacuation efforts has gone viral on Twitter and shows how the vibrant orange-red skies envelop the chopper, leaving absolutely zero visibility for rescuers.
"Our people are highly trained & professional, but not always able to complete the mission on first try," Levarsi wrote. "This video shows how heavy smoke from bushfires has prevented some C27J & C130J flights from reaching #Mallacoota & #Merimbula#AusAirForce#AustralianFires#YourADF."
The footage has been confused for video simulators by some, while others compare it to the "gates of hell."
The death toll from the wildfires, the worst seen in decades, rose to 25 on Monday, while Prime Minister Scott Morrison pledged $2B Australian dollars ($1.4 billion USD) for relief efforts, in addition to what has already been raised.
135 fires continue to rage in New South Wales, the area that's been hit the hardest. Experts estimate the fires have killed almost half a billion animals; A third of koalas in NSW alone have perished.