Yesterday, thousands of residents and holiday-makers gathered at the Mallacoota boat ramp, with nowhere else to go as fires closed in on the Victorian seaside town.

Of all the images to emerge from the day, the one that has truly galvanised the nation shows a young boy steering a power boat to safety underneath a vivid red sky.

His look of determination as he navigates away from the flames seems to evoke the challenges faced by the younger generation, who will grow up in a world faced by climate crisis.

The picture was shared far and wide on social media yesterday, and today is on the front page of publications like The Daily Telegraph and The West Australian.

It has since come to light that the photo was taken by Mallacoota local Allison Marion, and the boy in the boat is her 11-year-old son Finn.

Speaking to ABC News, Marion said that she was a passenger in the boat, riding along with her other son Caleb, who took care of the family dog as Finn steered them to safety.

“Both my boys are little legends,” she said. “They were very calm.” The family were assisted by other locals, following them to nearby Goodwin Sands to take shelter and wait out the day.

Marion said she returned to shore in Mallacoota to find her home and street intact, but others were not so lucky.

Photos have begun to spread on social media, showing the devastation in parts of the sleepy beachside community.

One local resident says twelve houses were destroyed in his street alone.

New South Wales has opened up its Public Information and Inquiry Centre to members of the public to assist with bushfire information – further details can be found here.

Victoria’s Country Fire Association also lists a number of resources for residents on its website.