When they were far enough from danger, Katerina parked the car on the side of the road to wait for her husband Nick, who’d gone back to the house to rescue her computer. “We waited and waited and he just wasn’t arriving,” says Katerina. “We started to panic that he was going to get caught in the fire. But we finally saw his car appear. We were so relieved.”
The family spent three nights with friends before they were allowed to return to their home. While they were incredibly thankful that their house was still standing thanks to the tireless efforts of the rural fire brigade, the property they came back to didn’t even remotely resemble the one they’d left three days earlier.
“You expect to see lush green when you look outside, but it’s all black,” says Katerina. “The fire was less than a metre from our deck. All the herbs growing on our deck were burnt and our orchards were decimated. There was an inch of ash all over everything in the house because we hadn’t had time to close the windows. As I look outside the window now, I can still see small fires smouldering. We’re very lucky that our house was spared, but it’s so sad to see how much our property has changed. This has been quite a wake-up call.”