It came from two directions. Flames quickly engulfed the small Tasmanian fishing town of Dunally, and swept towards the home where Tim and Tammy Holmes babysat their five grandchildren. There was no way out. And so the family ran for the water.
Tim was resourceful enough to actually get photographs of the escape.
One photo of the family is likely to become one of the defining images of a disaster that has seen wildfires sweep the south-east. A record-breaking heatwave and strong winds created this natural firestorm. Since last week they have destroyed countless land and numerous properties. Among them are the pottery, and craft gallery where Wales-born Holmes had lived on Tasmania’s picturesque eastern coast since 1988. Remarkably, nobody has been found dead, says the Guardian.
Tim Holmes told reporters:
“We saw tornadoes of fire just coming across towards us and the next thing we knew everything was on fire, everywhere all around us. We lost three houses and by that time I had sent Tammy … with the children to get down to the jetty because there was no other escape. We couldn’t get off. I ended up having to run down through a wooded area on my own, where there was so much smoke and fire, I didn’t know where I was. So I just kept running. There was a moment of fear that this could be very, very dangerous. But I managed to run through and get to the water’s edge, which was a kind of a sanctuary.”
The Telegraph reports Bonnie Walker, mother of the five children and daughter of the resourceful couple, said that she was “bracing myself to lose my children and my parents,” as she described her horror being cut off from her children and parents after they took shelter from the wildfire in the water under the jetty.
Quite a remarkable and inventive way to survive what could have been the end of them.