“I’m so glad we managed to save some houses but so gutted for those who lost their places. If we didn’t have that guy on the dozer and the guys in the helicopters I think every house on that hill would be gone.”
Senior Constable Paul Mark was among the first staff to reach the fire scene on day one, helping establish cordons and evacuate residents:
“It was huge, overwhelming - the biggest fire I’ve ever seen.
“People were desperate to get into their properties and that became our biggest challenge.
“People wanted to get back in to save their cat or dog, so we spent a lot of time trying to explain that there were safety reasons why we couldn’t let them back in.
“Some would yell abuse and try to drive three cordons over to get alternative routes in.
“The other big issue was rubberneckers blocking the roads. When the second fire broke out we just couldn’t get emergency vehicles up the hill.
“We had people with their kids standing above the flames.
That people would risk their and their family’s lives had me lost for words.”