A mother "braced herself" to lose her parents and five children after a blaze engulfed their Tasmania home, but the family were saved by jumping into the sea and clinging to a wooden jetty.
These dramatic pictures show the Walker family, as flames encircle them, hugging tightly to wooden beams of the jetty, near their home in Dunalley, Tasmania.
Grandmother Tammy Holmes held her terrified grandchildren, two-year-old Charlotte and four-year-old Esther, while nine-year-old Liam clung to the jetty with sister Matilda, 11, who is holding up her six-year-old brother Caleb.
The family credits God with their survival from the fire that destroyed around 90 homes in Dunalley
Bonnie Walker, mother of the five, told Australia's ABC channel that she realised after hearing the news on the radio that her children and parents were trapped by the flames.
"I braced myself to lose my children and my parents," she said. "'We just waited by the phone and received a message at 3.30pm to say that mum and dad had evacuated, that they were surrounded by fire, and could we pray?"
Tim Holmes, Ms Walker's father, told the network: "There was a moment of fear that this could be very, very dangerous. But I managed to run through and get to the water's edge, which was a kind of a sanctuary.
"We saw tornadoes of fire just coming across towards us.
Tammy Holmes and her grandchildren take refuge under a jetty
"We were relying on the jetty really. And the difficulty was, there was so much smoke and ember and there was only about probably two to three hundred millimetres of air above the water.
"So we were all just heads, water up to our chins, just trying to breathe because it was just, the atmosphere was so incredibly toxic.
The family managed to escape after Mr Holmes found a dinghy, which he dragged for more than 200 metres to find clearer air.
The Walker siblings prepare to enter the water to take refuge with their grandparents
Father David Walker, who was hiking in a remote area, unaware of the unfolding drama, told ABC: "All the things that we've lost, yeah, there's some precious memories there. But they can be replaced, material things, but my wife and children, not so easily replaced. Yeah, I just feel blessed that my family's all together."
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that more than 130 bushfires are still burning, as fire crews desperately attempt to cool the flames before windy weather returns to New South Wales.
"It certainly has the potential to cause quite significant devastation if it were to continue along its current path," RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said.
A charred vehicle sits near the remains of a home destroyed by a wildfire between Dunalley and Boomer Bay
On Tuesday, Australia experienced its hottest day on record, with temperatures about 40C.
New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said in a statement: "You don't get conditions worse than this. We are at the catastrophic level."
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