“There was just absolutely no stopping that fire,” Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers told the Australian Daily Telegraph, who descibed it as “the most frightening fires I think we have had all summer…”To have firefighters trying to battle that blaze would have literally been a suicide mission.”

The fire in Warrumbungle National Park has been blamed on a wind shift during the heatwave engulfing Australia – currently 146 fires have been reported across New South Wales with around 800 firefighters currently tackling them.

Australia’s National University Observatory at Siding Spring has been damaged by the fire in Warrumbungle.

Kevin Humphries, minister for Western New South Wales said “I have had the chance to meet with many of them today, and I was awestruck by their commitment to battling these blazes despite being overcome by heat and exhaustion. The incredible response to save the world-famous Siding Spring Observatory from being completely destroyed is an absolute credit to all involved.”

So far fires in the state have burned through an astounding 500,000+ hectares of land – an area of around 2000 square miles, a quarter of the size of Wales, UK.

Main image via Jimmy Dalgleish on Twitter