The bushfires raging across large areas of south-eastern Australia have destroyed entire towns and devastated local communities. Many people perished in their cars as they tried to drive to safety.
Here - accompanied by some graphic images and the sound of the strong winds that have been fanning the flames - eyewitnesses describe how they escaped, but how others were not so lucky.
Warning: slideshow contains graphic images
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Photographs courtesy AFP, Getty Images and AP. Slideshow by Paul Kerley. Publication date 10 February 2009
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