How the bushfires affected Mallacoota

People board a helicopter as the fire-ravaged community of Mallacoota is evacuated in January.
People board a helicopter as the fire-ravaged community of Mallacoota is evacuated in January.

SNAPSHOT OF BUSHFIRES IMPACT ON MALLACOOTA:

* Images of people huddled in Mallacoota under a sky painted red became a symbol of Australia's devastating summer bushfires

* Fires started to burn in parts of East Gippsland in late November with an emergency warning issued for Mallacoota on December 30

* Fire surrounded the town on December 31, with thousands of people fleeing to the beach after the Victorian town was cut off by flames

* A wind change in the afternoon spared the town centre

* About 100 homes were lost in Mallacoota

* The crew of HMAS Choules was recalled on New Year's Eve and set sail to Mallacoota less than 24 hours later

* The ship arrived in Mallacoota on January 2 and did the first evacuation the next day, with about 1100 people aboard

* A second smaller evacuation followed on January 8, which included locals, holiday makers and 66 Country Fire Authority firefighters

* The Australian Defence Force evacuated about 1400 people, and more than 130 dogs in the two evacuations

* It was Australia's largest peacetime humanitarian rescue mission since Cyclone Tracy in 1974

* HMAS Choules also brought essential goods including fuel, medical supplies and beer to the East Gippsland community

* The community continues to recover and rebuild

SOURCE: AAP and navy communications.

Australian Associated Press