As revellers rang in the New Year on the last day of the warmest decade on record in Australia, the northern hemisphere woke to news of the "apocalyptic scenes" caused by the bushfires raging across the nation.

Scenes of zoo animals under threat, "blood red" skies and thousands being forced to seek refuge in the ocean – as well as the sheer scale of the bushfire situation on Australia's east coast – have shocked a global audience.

In NSW, the RFS confirmed early yesterday morning that 112 fires were raging across the state and three people had died in the wake of devastating fires on the South Coast, news.com.au reports.

Amid reports on how people around the world have celebrated the arrival of a new decade, The New York Timesand other international media outlets have described Australia's catastrophic fire conditions.

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"The fires have been a constant presence in Australia for weeks," wrote Isabella Kwai for the publication.

"But the eerie images that emerged on social media on Tuesday cast them in a new light and seemed to be a harbinger for the new decade that the country rang in hours later."

Hundreds of readers responded to the article on the publication's website and their social media, with one writing that the story was "almost too painful to read".

"As Trump mocks Greta, as Australia's PM Scott Morrison bans climate protests, the natural balance of nature goes further off kilter and disasters continue to destroy everything worth living for on this planet," another reader said.

Kwai also pointed out Mr Morrison's denial of climate change, writing that he "has made it clear that Australia's economic prosperity comes first. Even as his country burned, he has said repeatedly that it is not the time to discuss climate policy."

Media outlets like the BBC and The Guardian in the UK have also published extensive coverage on the bushfire situation, describing "the beach town where fires turned day to night" and "Australia's bushfire day of terror".

"Amid the darkness, there was chaos. A stampede towards the town's foreshore where thousands stood and huddled and watched the black sky turn red," Ben Smee wrote about the town of Mallacoota in Victoria for The Guardian.

"Those who could scrambled onto boats. Others hugged the shoreline or waded in."

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"This is what hell looks like," one reader commented in response to a video the BBC shared on their social media.

"Hell on earth," another said. "I really hope this is not a sign of things to come."

A Twitter post by The Guardian, describing the images of "mayhem" and "Armageddon" yesterday, was shared by Swedish teen climate protester Greta Thunberg, along with several other videos of the bushfire situation with the hashtag "#thisisfine".

Elsewhere in the UK, Metro published extensive images from Mallacoota, describing a sky that "glows red" and thousands fleeing to the beaches for safety.

American news and opinion website Voxpublished an explainer on "Australia's hellish heatwave", citing ocean circulation, years of drought and climate change as the fuel behind the nation's record heat and deadly fires.

Financial website Bloomberg ran a piece about the fires in Australia's coastal towns, describing the "thick black smoke from infernos" that "turned the morning sky pitch black or choked the coastline in a haunting red haze".

CNN also led on the scenes in NSW, with footage of advancing bushfires overwhelming one of the RFS' fire trucks.

International media outlets have also been quick to comment on the controversial decision to go ahead with Sydney's New Year's Eve fireworks display.

The "threat of wildfires" were "not enough to cancel Sydney's New Year's Eve fireworks", wrote NPR.

"Sydney is an absolute joke," one reader wrote. "Your state is burning down but it's okay the fireworks can still happen. Most ridiculous government decision ever."