But in the past 12 months, green shoots have begun to replace charred soil as nature revives from devastation.
The blackened stumps of the trees that survived the wall of flames are a shadow of what they were before, but green vines can be seen snaking around them.
Green grass covers the ground and the first shoots of growth peek through the boiled black bark, but recovery is still slow.
And they were right. The first brush and grass fires started last September.
Wildfire warnings were issued when fires broke out in the New South Wales region on the north and south coasts, the Riverina and Snowy Mountains.
The fire burned for 74 days, after starting with lightning on November 26, 2019.
It consumed 499,621 hectares, stretching from each end of Shoalhaven, destroying 312 houses and damaging another 173.
The dead wood still standing reminds locals of last year’s wildfire season, as hints of green show the promise of new life.
Mogo, a small town nestled in the southern coast region near Batemans Bay, was devastated by fires.
Houses, businesses and trees were reduced to rubble and ash.
Locals say the city is still far from recovering.
But luckily for the animals at Mogo Wildlife Park, none were lost to fire and the zoo remained intact.
This was thanks to dozens of zoo keepers and volunteers who worked through danger to protect zoo animals, even keeping some in their homes.
Locals say the community was a “ghost town” when the North Black Range fire west of Braidwood first posed a threat in November last year, followed by the Currowan fire.
Braidwood was closed for seven weeks.
Not all entry and exit roads could be accessed.
Farm animals and pets were found in the danger zone.
All of their caretakers are desperate to provide them with food and keep them safe from the impending threat.
The landscape is healing, but not recovered.
Woodland can take 150 to 200 years before it reaches a stable system.
In a rainforest it can be 500 to 1000 years.
On November 12, Sydney residents received their first warning of catastrophic fire conditions.
The following month, residents lived under a haze of smoke that was 11 times the dangerous level on some days.
Other fires raged through the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury: the Gospers Hill fire burned some 500,000 hectares.
In Victoria, lightning sparked a series of fires in East Gippsland.
Firefighters in South Australia and Western Australia were also kept busy when the first wave of fires broke out.