(BBC) – Thousands of people in Australia have fled to the seafront to seek shelter from bushfires racing to the coast.
One blaze moved into the Victorian coastal town of Mallacoota, throwing embers towards homes.
Locals described a “terrifying experience” of camping on wharves and boarding boats under blood-red skies.
Meanwhile, officials confirmed another two people had died in blazes in New South Wales. There are now 12 deaths linked to the nation’s bushfire crisis.
Several holiday spots along the coast between Sydney and Melbourne are currently cut off by fire fronts.
More than a dozen “emergency-level” blazes span a 500km (310 miles) stretch across two Australian states – from Batemans Bay in New South Wales (NSW) to Bairnsdale in Victoria.
The bodies of two men – believed to be a father and son – were found in the town of Corbargo in NSW. A massive blaze had ripped through the town’s main street on Tuesday.
“Very tragic set of circumstances,” said NSW police deputy commissioner Gary Worboys. “[They were] obviously trying to do their best with the fire as it came through in the early hours of the morning.”
Authorities said there were five more people missing in the region – four in Victoria and another man in NSW.
Victoria’s state premier Daniel Andrews said navy ships may be called upon to provide food, water and power to the cut-off townships. The main road in the region – the Princes Highway – has been closed off.
“Some of these isolated communities can be accessed by sea,” he said.