Mum of boy, 11, who has become face of Australia's bushfires speaks out

·Associate News Editor

It’s an image that has not only shocked Australians, but caused ripples right across the world as millions watch on while our country continues to burn.

Eleven-year-old Finn was photographed by his mother as they fled the Victoria bushfires at Mallacoota on Tuesday.

In the photo he can be seen steering a powerboat while wearing a mask amid apocalyptic red skies.

With fear in his eyes, it’s an image that encapsulates the horror thousands faced on New Year’s Eve as loss of life became a reality.

Mallacoota boy Finn Marion, 11, pictured driving his family's boat as they flee bushfires.
Eleven-year-old Finn pictured driving his family's boat as they flee bushfires encroaching on Mallacoota on Tuesday. Source: Allison Marion via ABC

A father and son lost their lives in NSW on Tuesday while another remains unaccounted for.

On Wednesday, a man’s body was found in a burnt-out car north of Ulladulla.

Meanwhile four people remained unaccounted for in Victoria.

Finn’s mother Allison Marion told the ABC they were forced to enact their fire plan and flee the bushfires closing in on their home.

Onboard the small boat was also their pet dog and Finn’s brother Kade.

Ms Marion described her sons as “legends” as they faced the prospect of losing everything they had.

“They were very calm. Finn drove the boat and my other son looked after the dog in the boat,” she said.

“I’m very proud of both of them.”

The family were among dozens of Mallacoota residents who had fled to the small sand barrier of Goodwin Sands off of the town.

Conditions eased and they were able to return hours later.

Mallacoota residents were greeted with a red sky on Tuesday.
The red sky above Mallacoota on Tuesday. SourcE: AAP

While their home had survived the fire, others in the tight-knit community weren’t as lucky.

Initial estimates suggest about 50 homes have been destroyed.

“Mallacoota is a special place to live and there’s very special people and I’m sure the community will bind together,” Ms Marion said.

Authorities are organising supplies to be delivered to stranded Mallacoota residents that will last two weeks while the military is being brought in to evacuate residents.

Victoria fires continue to burn

As at 11am (AEST) on Wednesday, five emergency alerts have been downgraded in Victoria's fire-ravaged East Gippsland, but a significant risk remains with forecast worsening conditions.

The warning for Buchan, Bruthen, Ensay, Cann Valley and Mallacoota moved to a watch-and-act alert on Wednesday morning, while the fire in the Upper Snowy area was recategorised to an advice alert.

Two emergency warnings remain in place, one in East Gippsland for Goongerah and one for a blaze at Corryong in northeast Victoria on the NSW border.

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said 24 structures had been destroyed at Buchan, 19 at Sarsfield, 10 at Mallacoota and up to 15 at Cudgewa.

Power has been cut to more than 7000 properties at East Gippsland and more than 1800 in the northeast.

AusNet says it could take days to restore power because the fires are still burning and it is unsafe to attend and assess the extent of damage.

Phones remain cut across much of the region.

A boil water notice was put in place for Mallacoota from Tuesday to reduce public health risks.

With AAP

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