The devastating Australian wildfires that have been raging for weeks are now estimated to have burned through about 32,400 square miles of the country, NBC News reports, an area roughly the size of the U.S. state of Indiana. By comparison, the wildfires that burned in the Amazon rainforest in the summer of 2019 raged through approximately 5,000 square miles less. The Australian fires have burned approximately 6,400 times the amount of area that was destroyed in California's 2019 wildfire season.
The latest estimates indicate that as many as a billion animals -- including birds, reptiles, and mammals, though not including fish, insects, frogs, or invertebrates -- have died as a result of the fires. Thousands of homes and businesses have been destroyed, and the blaze -- fueled by drought and extreme summer heat -- has so far claimed the lives of 24 people.
As is the case in many disasters, photos and videos taken from the scene can help reveal the depth of the tragedy, and this instance is proving to be no exception.
A number of photos and videos that have emerged from the Australian wildfires are posted below. Please note that some of this media can be disturbing.