The view from one of Australia’s most scenic ocean drives was drastically altered when a destructive bushfire blazed through Victoria’s surf coast on Christmas day.

Puffs of gray and black smoke hung in the distance down the Great Ocean Road, large swaths of which were closed following the fire that destroyed 53 homes. People in towns near the tourist attraction, which is also on the Australian National Heritage list, were ordered to evacuate around lunchtime Friday, local time. No deaths have been reported.

Overnight rain was welcomed by hundreds of firefighters battling the blaze, which has burned roughly 2,200 hectares. Despite the assist, there is more work to be done, with emergency warnings still in place as of Saturday morning in the towns of Wye River, Grey River, Kennett River and Separation Creek. The recent rain doesn’t mean the worst is over, either. “We will be back into hot, windy weather in January without a doubt,” Victoria’s Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said during a press conference Saturday, adding that there haven’t been fires like this in the area for decades. Read more…

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Intense photos show Christmas fire raging near scenic Australian road