Dean Carroll's photo as bushfires surrounded his Mororo property on Tuesday night.
Dean Carroll's photo as bushfires surrounded his Mororo property on Tuesday night.

'Two weeks of waiting, and 20 minutes of madness'

SMOKE still hangs in the air at Kate Carroll's Mororo property, and the sound of trees cracking and falling in the distance interrupts every few minutes.

"I think …," she paused as she looked at the sky. "I think it'd be good if it'd go back to being a bit normal. That'd be great. A day without any smoke and fires."

Ms Carroll, with husband Dean had been watching the fires coming since last Tuesday, the ever-present glow of the blaze north of the Mororo road taunting them.

However, on Tuesday night, the fire which had been working its way south around their place took a turn.

 

Dean Carroll's photo as bushfires surrounded his Mororo property on Tuesday night.
Dean Carroll's photo as bushfires surrounded his Mororo property on Tuesday night.

 

"The smoke had come around, but when I saw the purple smoke coming I thought I was getting out," Ms Carroll said, leaving with their two children to stay at a friend's place.

Mr Carroll stayed on the property to watch the fire snake around to the west of them.

"It was to the west and travelling south, and we thought it'd go past," Mr Carroll said.

A phone call at 9pm changed the night dramatically, with a friend fighting fires telling of a storm-front, which many hoped would douse the fire, instead was turning it around.

"He said it had just blown up at Ashby, and it'd swung around 180 degrees and was blowing it straight back towards us," Mr Carroll said.

"We were at a friend's place having dinner, and we got back to our place, and we could see one ember at the top of our drive."

By the time he reached the house, the embers were falling like raindrops over the property, travelling more than two kilometres from the firefront.

Max, 11, Kate, Sam, 8 and Dean Carroll on their fenceline where bushfires burned right to the edge of on Monday night at Mororo. Photo: Adam Hourigan
Max, 11, Kate, Sam, 8 and Dean Carroll on their fenceline where bushfires burned right to the edge of on Monday night at Mororo. Photo: Adam Hourigan

 

"Some of them we could just stamp out, and others weren't lighting anything up, but before we knew it, the hill was on fire and then it was burning the bush out the back," he said.

"The whole ridgeline was just glowing red, and it was shooting across the canopy. It was amazing."

In an instant, help came for them. Water trucks, tractors, and people from across the area appeared to help, and in a concerted effort took on the fire that was metres from the house.

The trucks doused the flames, flooding the area with water, and just as quickly zoomed off to other houses in the area.

"It was two weeks of waiting for twenty minutes of madness," Mr Carroll said.

With his house seemingly secure, Mr Carroll travelled with his neighbours to each others living on the 2km long lane, finally returning home around 2am.

The following morning, Ms Carroll returned to the property, having already sighted the property under attack from mobile phone photos.

"You see the black of the ground as you came in, but it looked nothing like the night before," she said.

 

Dean Carroll's photo as bushfires surrounded his Mororo property on Tuesday night.
Dean Carroll's photo as bushfires surrounded his Mororo property on Tuesday night.

 

"It's a bit of a relief now that's done. Hopefully it can't come back again.

Ms Carroll said they felt lucky and grateful for the support of everyone in the area, who were well prepared and willing to lend a hand.

"That's been the wonderful thing that you've got people who come around and leave their cane gear, or their trucks and other things," she said.

"It's been wonderful in that respect. Everyone comes together."

"We were pretty lucky," Mr Carroll said.

"We got away with it. It went around us and looks pretty good.

"But there are others around that weren't so lucky. The appeal of living in the bush lost its appeal for a little bit."

Fire conditions eased across the area yesterday, allowing crews to put backburns into place.

However, a wind-change in the early afternoon created more activity around the Mororo area.

The fire was still at Advice level as of yesterday afternoon.

Dean Carroll's photo as bushfires surrounded his Mororo property on Tuesday night.
Dean Carroll's photo as bushfires surrounded his Mororo property on Tuesday night.