It's been more than three months since bushfires left the landscape of the Manning-Great Lakes scorched beyond recognition, but slowly, and with the help of recent rain, vegetation has been returning to the blackened earth.
A number of photographers in the area have been keeping a keen eye on this transformation and documenting the emergence of new plants and foliage.
Green Point's Beverley Roberts has been one such photographer.
Revisiting the same fire grounds at The Southern Parkway and Darawank, her images show the vivid colour that has returned to the area over the past few months.
"I just wanted to track what was going to happen," she said.
"I knew things were going to improve."
But even she wasn't expecting nature to bounce back as quickly as it did.
"The first time I went back I was amazed. I literally started crying," she said.
"Within two months there were ferns."
MidCoast Council natural systems manager, Gerard Tuckerman, said the Cabbage Tree Palm (above) was a particularly fire-tolerant species and had adapted to survive and regenerate rapidly from most fire events.
But not all native vegetation in the area was equipped to recover so quickly from such a catastrophic event.
"Native vegetation recovery from fire is variable and dynamic and depends on a range of factors, including the sensitivity of the native vegetation to fire, the intensity of the fire event and how often the area has been burnt in the past," Mr Tuckerman said.
He said approximately 209,549 hectares of the Mid Coast LGA had been burnt and much of that area was exposed to high intensity burns.
The landscape along the Pacific Highway between Taree and Failford had been particularly hard hit, which was why large swathes of it had been left completely devoid of ground cover.
Mr Tuckerman said native vegetation along the highway would undergo a slow recovery, but the recent rain would help.
With the various rainforest systems in the region highly sensitive to fire, Mr Tuckerman said there was significant concern for their recovery.
In particular, he said the littoral rainforest at Crowdy Bay, the lowland and riparian rainforest at Dingo Creek and the cool temperature rainforests along the ranges were likely to have been severely impacted by the fires.
"Recovery of some rainforest communities from high intensity fire could take decades or longer," he admitted.
Mr Tuckerman said the fires might also have had a significant impact on the region's soil.
"Firstly, high intensity fires can consume the humic (nutrient) matter within the topsoil, which depletes the soil of its structure, its potential water-holding ability and its fertility," he said.
"Secondly, the fires have consumed ground cover vegetation which exposes soils to wind and water erosion."
Cruelly, the large rain events in recent weeks have also had a negative impact.
"The large rains which have occurred since the fires have washed lots of sediment and ash into local waterways, harming water quality and aquatic systems and potentially contributing to fish kills and other impacts," Mr Tuckerman said.
"This soil erosion can deplete land of the better quality soils and can delay the recovery and regeneration of ground vegetation."
He said weeds could also pose a problem as the natural landscape tried to recover.
But he admitted it wasn't all bad news, with many native species evolved to be fire-dependent, which meant they required periodic fire activity for renewal and would recover strongly.
For photographers like Beverley, the process of documenting the region's regeneration would be ongoing.
"I'm going to keep tracking it," she said.
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