Latest photos of the devastating Australian bushfires

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Deadly bushfires are ravaging the Australian landscape, so far destroying 1,200 homes across New South Wales and Victoria.

image copyrightMatthew Abbott / New York Times / Redux / eyevine
image captionA kangaroo rushes past a burning house in Conjola on New Year's Eve

This week the fires have razed at least 381 homes in New South Wales and 43 in Victoria, with at least 17 people missing.

The leader of NSW has declared a week-long state of emergency, starting this Friday.

Here are pictures from the past few days.

image copyrightAFP
image captionA firefighter hoses down trees and flying embers in an effort to save houses near the town of Nowra in New South Wales
image copyrightAFP
image captionFires rage near Bairnsdale in the East Gippsland region, Victoria
image copyrightAFP
image captionBurning embers cover the ground as firefighters battle against bushfires around Nowra

The declared state of emergency will allow local authorities to carry out forced evacuations, road closures "and anything else we need to do as a state to keep our residents and to keep property safe", NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Thursday.

image copyrightAFP
image copyrightGetty Images
image captionBushfires burn between the townships of Bemm River and Cann River in East Gippsland, Victoria
image copyrightGetty Images
image captionPeople from the town of Cann River are evacuated to Orbost in East Gippsland

High temperatures and strong winds are forecast for the weekend, leading to "widespread extreme fire danger".

Fire officials have told holidaymakers to urgently leave a 260km (160-mile) stretch of the NSW coast before Saturday.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionA firefighter sprays foam retardant in the New South Wales town of Jerrawangala

The deaths in NSW include:

  • Two people found in separate cars on Wednesday morning
  • A father and son who stayed behind to defend their home and farm equipment
  • A 28-year-old volunteer firefighter who was killed when wind flipped over his fire engine
image copyrightReuters
image captionA satellite image of Batemans Bay on New Year's Eve
image copyrightAFP
image captionDebris is seen around a swimming pool next to the remains of a house destroyed by bushfires near Batemans Bay
image copyrightAFP
image captionA family sit at a showground in the southern New South Wales town of Bega where they are camping after being evacuated from nearby sites

In December, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison cut short his holiday to Hawaii amid growing criticism of his leadership during the bushfire crisis.

This week he had to cut short another visit - to a fire-hit town when he was heckled by angry residents.

image copyrightShutterstock
image captionAn aerial view of property damaged by the East Gippsland fires in Sarsfield (above and below)
image copyrightShutterstock
image copyrightReuters
image captionTracy Burgess, a volunteer with Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Services (WIRES), holds a severely burnt brushtail possum rescued from fires near Australia's Blue Mountains
image copyrightReuters
image captionA WIRES volunteer holds a kangaroo rescued in the Blue Mountains area
image copyrightDELWP GIPPSLAND / EPA
image captionSmoke billows from a fire burning at East Gippsland
image copyrightMogo Wildlife Park

Mogo Zoo (above), managed to save all its animals, with monkeys, pandas and even a tiger housed at one keeper's home.

image copyrightEPA
image captionSmoke rises from a fire burning at East Gippsland, Victoria.

The Australian government has been facing criticism over its climate policies as the country deals with the devastating bushfires.

Australia is one of the world's biggest per capita greenhouse gas emitters.

image copyrightShutterstock
image captionDamaged property seen in Mallacoota in East Gippsland
image copyrightShutterstock
image captionBushfires make the sky turn red in Mallacoota, Victoria
image copyrightAFP
image captionThe remains of burnt out buildings seen along a street in Cobargo, New South Wales
image copyrightAFP
image captionA horse tries to move away from nearby bushfires at a residential property near the town of Nowra
image copyrightAFP
image captionA photo from the state government in Victoria shows a helicopter fighting a bushfire near Bairnsdale in East Gippsland
image copyrightAFP
image captionFirefighters hose down trees around the town of Nowra
image copyrightAFP
image captionSmoke and flames rise from burning trees around Nowra
image copyrightReuters
image caption"Carmelised" snow caused by dust from Australian bushfires is seen near Franz Josef Glacier in the Westland Tai Poutini National Park, New Zealand

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