In April 2013 my mother and I left Sydney to care for my grandparents at their home in Caves Beach, about forty minutes south of Newcastle.
In October we had been staying at Caves Beach for six months and my grandmother had moved to a nursing home in Newcastle when a series of massive bush fires converged on Caves Beach and surrounding areas.
We were evacuated and after spending several hours at a makeshift evacuation centre, we spent the night at a local hotel with my grandfather and partner. We were allowed to return later the next day after conditions improved but it was a very scary experience.
A few weeks later, once the fires were all out and things had started to return to normal, my partner and I went to look at the devastation the fires had left behind. I took these photos while we were there.
Most of them are from near Caves Beach and Catherine Hill Bay and from along the Pacific Highway, including what the fires left of the “Big Prawn”.
The fires were the worst New South Wales had seen in over a decade, with twenty seven fires raging across the state at the height of the emergency.
Photos © CJ Levinson 2013