Australia fires form terrifying 'devil face' as death toll rises to 20

THE face of the devil was snapped looming in the smoke by a farmer who was desperately fighting the fire engulfing his land.

The ominous image comes as the Australian fires claim their 20th victim, the eighth this week, with 28 still missing in Victoria State.

Sixth generation dairy farmer Craig Calvert spent 13 hours fighting the flames beside his father as 100m large fireballs and 'white fire' rained down on them at their home in East Gippsand, regional Victoria.

He told Sunrise on Friday "I'm not really into hokey pokey spooky stuff but there's a big devil face right in the fire".

He told Priminister Morris to "step up and get behind us, don't let any more people die."

Temperatures topped 40 degrees C (104 F) across much of the state and strong winds fanned flames.

Evacuations begin

Authorities have called for mass evacuations of around 100,000 people in Victoria and New South Wales over fears that the fires will burn out of control this weekend.

Michael Grainger of the state's police emergency responders said: "If they value their safety they must leave.

"I'd suggest personal belongings are of very, very little value in these circumstances.

"These are dire circumstances, there is no doubt."

This season's fires have scorched more than 5.25 million hectares (13 million acres) of bushland, with 1,365 homes destroyed in New South Wales alone, including 449 this week on the south coast.

Tens of thousands of holidaymakers and residents are being urged to leave national parks and tourist areas on the south coast of New South Wales, where a week-long state of emergency has been called.

In Victoria, naval vessels Choules and Sycamore started evacuations of about a quarter of the 4,000 people stranded on a beach in the isolated town of Mallacoota.

With roads blocked, sea transport and some airlifts are the only way out of the stricken town, although heavy smoke prevented flights on Friday.

A friend took the terrifying picture as it rained fire on the farm

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