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Biker from Hell

A resident in Berambing observes large flames from the Mt Wilson backburn as the fire begins impacting properties on the 15th December.

Bilpin Ground Zero

As light appears across Bilpin on the morning of the 22nd of December 2019, the extent of devastation caused by the Mt Wilson Backburn is revealed.

Bilpin Recovery

Four months after the backburn burnt through the region, signs of life a slowly starting to appear.

Bilpin Under Attack

This photo, taken 1 kilometer from the firefront, shows the surging black smoke as the Mt Wilson Backburn burns through the southern side of the Bilpin region.

Mt Bell

Fire devastation on the slopes of Mt Bell 1 month after being burnt.

Grass Tree

A grass tree starts catching alight during backburning near Mountain Lagoon.

Ominous Smoke

A dark smoke from the Mt Wilson Backburn plume covers the afternoon sun.

Ground Zero

Arial photography reveals the intensity of the fire where the Mt Wilson Backburn spotted over Mt Wilson Road.


An exhausted firefight takes a moments rest while backburning near the Gospers Mountain fire.


A Berambing resident surveys damage to their property after the fire.


Moments before impact, a resident works to prepare their property in Berambing.

Loss of Business

A Bilpin business owner picks through the rubble of his burnt out coolroom.

New Growth

A field of carnivorous Forked Sundew plants regrow from the ashes.

Orphaned Birds

A young Currawong and young Satin Bowerbird are cared for after the fires.

Media Oppourtunity

A Berambing resident talks to the media the morning after his property is burnt out.

A Helping Hand

Locals recount their experiences of the fire.


'Elvis' the waterbomber helps with a flareup during a backburning operation on the southern edge of the Gospers Mountain fire.

Gospers Mountain Backburn

A nighttime backburn operation near Mountain Lagoon

Midnight Rest

Residents and RFS crews take a midnight rest while overseeing a backburn operation ahead of the Gospers Mountain Fire.


Two firefighters keep watch over operations.

After The Fire

The sun sets through layers of smoke after the main fire has burnt through.

Lunch Break

RFS Crews take a smoke break. In the distance, the main Gospers Mountain Fire can be seen burning through the Wollemi National Park. Smoke from backburning operations rises in the foreground.

Life Feeds on Life

Before any plant regrowth appeared, fungi was the first sign of life to break through the black ash on the ground. Critically, these large mushrooms act as a food supply for mammals and insects that have survived the fire.

Total Fire Ban

If only this message applied to everyone.

Hard to Breathe

As the fire front hits on December 15th, a resident struggles to protect her face from the thick smoke.

Fire Cycle

Its hard to believe life can survive such extreme conditions - but plants like this Banksia Serrata have adapted over hundreds of thousands of years to activate their seed pods after a bushfire. Being burnt is how this species prospers.

A Local Affair

The threat of fire hung around for weeks, with residents facing multiple fire attacks. It could strike at any time and for many locals this lead to weeks of exhaustion and lake of sleep.

Gospers Mountain Fire Sunset

Sunset looking north over the Wollemi National Park from Mountain Lagoon. Gospers Mountain Fire smoke plume in the distance. Backburn smoke in the foreground.

How To Capture Fire

A photographer takes a photograph before things get hairy.

Property Protection

RFS ground crews prepare to move out for property protection in Berambing. An Air Attack water bombing helicopter flies low overhead in front of the approaching fire.


Low flying planes and helicopters became a constant background noise for weeks on end.

Precision Drop

A water bombing helicopter makes a precision drop on a flare up.

Where To Now

Months after the fires ended, its still uncertain what we have learned from the Black Summer 2019/2020 fire season. Many people are already wondering how long until the next fire hits?

Air Attack

A pink line of fire retardant streaks across the canopy. Helicopters work in a team rotation, completing a water drop every few minutes.

A years of firewood up in smoke

A a cabin rental property in Bilpi, an entire years supply of firewood catches alight and burns to ash.

Night Crew

RFS crews backburn through the night near Mountain Lagoon.

Nightime backburn

A night view of backburn operations in the Wollemi National Park.

Mt Wilson Backburn at Night

A beautiful yet haunting nightime view of the escaped Mt Wilson Backburn on the 15th December.

Fires Of Life

A gap in the smoke reveals a beautiful sunset and blue sky.

Dazed and Confused

The morning after the backburn hits Berambing, locals try to comprehend what has happened.

Selective Damage


Not a sound to be heard.


The charred slopes of Mt Bell shrouded in classic Blue Mountains mist.


The fire front finally breaks through in Berambing.

Ain't Nothing Left

It's hard to comprehend just how complete the destruction can be.

Mt Tomah Skyline

The vast western slopes of Mt Tomah suffered some of the worst fire intensity. At the top runs Skyline Road, where several homes were burnt down.

Orange is the New Black

Dead leaves change the colour of a burnt landscape.

Rain Brings Life Again

The first rains came about 1 month after the fire ravaged the Bilpin region.

Spot Fires Galore

Small spot fires develop quickly and dangerously.

Times Up

Former Glory

Beautiful early morning mist hides the destruction.


Locals think up creative ways to promote tourism in the burnt out bushland.