As you know we live in Labertouche,right in the middle of Saturday the 7ths bushfire affected area.
We had 24 hours warning that we were going to be seriously affected by the fires and that we were in extremely high risk areas.
We had the choice to evacuate or remain to do our best for our properties should the worst occur.
As we have so many animals I decided to remain here with my husband and 17 year old son.
Our 9 year old son stayed with his sister and her fiance, our other daughters stayed with friends.
We prepared the best that we could.We have a fireman's hose and a portable petrol driven water pump.Our plan was to empty our swimming pool onto our house if we had to.I had buckets,mops,wet towels,anything that I thought would help put out burning embers.We filled all the baths in the house and also blocked and filled the gutters with water.
All our cats and dogs were in the house which was a major feat but with portable pens borrowed ( Thankyou so much Mary ) to top up the ones we already have we managed to get everyone in and reasonably happy.
The goat was in a stable near the house and the horses were given the run of our bottom six paddocks with all those gates left open for them to be able to run freely between them.
Then all we could do was wait and see what happened.
I even had time to take some photos of the smoke cloud that got bigger and bigger.We could hear trees exploding in the forest.The red line is a wall of flames.
After these photos were taken the wind changed direction towards us and we had to start running.
That afternoon turned out to be the most frightening time of my life.The smoke,the noise,the flames were like hell on earth.
I just can't adequately describe how bad it was.
At one point our entire house was surrounded by fire.Trees ablaze and flames 100 feet into the air.
My husband and my son worked and worked to keep our house safe. Our horses got themselves caught in a paddock and could not escape the fire.My husband raced down with bolt cutters to cut the wire and free them,trees exploded beside him as he did this and the smoke was choking.
That was the most terrifying thing of all for me.My husband and son were lost behind a wall of smoke and I did not know if they were OK or not.I ran between them giving them drinks and checking where all the fires were to re-direct them if another more dangerous one needed their attention.
The fire came to within meters of our house.Just when we thought we may lose everything the wind changed.
That was a blessing for us but created more problems for some of our neighbours.
Our friends just up the road lost their home.The farmer nearby lost 200 cows.Our neighbours lost barns,machinery, sheds,horse boxes so much..........
We lost all the fencing in our paddocks which were all burnt out but boy were we lucky!!
Now we have no phone lines and no power. But we are OK!!!!The animals are OK and our house is OK.
Today, 48 hours later, I have cried the entire day.It was a dreadful, dreadful experience.
It will take a very long time indeed to get Labertouche back to where it was before Saturday.Even now the roads are still closed to all but residents and we are putting out little fires that keep popping up from the embers.Labertouche looks like a scene from a disaster movie.Worst of all that same fire in the forest behind us is still burning,under control but very scary to know it is still there after Saturday.
I just want to thank everyone for their concern, support and offers of help.Truly, it is appreciated so very much.
So many people have emailed,called,messaged and it is difficult for me to get back to everyone individually at the moment but I did want to say a HUGE thankyou to you all and let you know we are alright.
A special thankyou to Mary and George,what would I do without you.
My prayers are with those still battling these bushfires today.
Talk to you soon.