Evacuees raced against flames

“We were basically surrounded by fires and as we drove out it was just as red as a Coke can in front of us with barely anything visible and the fire right next to us as we left.” - Lisa Skosples
WEB SHOWGROUNDS carboor 1 pe c5 20200106
SAFE AND SOUND: Carboor locals Ellie Skosples, Kris Skosples and Rob Newton left their home behind to find shelter at the Wangaratta Showgrounds, where they were met with Milawa evacuee and friend Wendy Ferguson. PHOTO: Willson Mack

WITH flames to their right and thick ash to their left, four Carboor locals fled their home on Sunday to survive the raging fire threatening the district.

Ellie, Kris Skosples and Lisa Skosples with Ellie’s partner Rob Newton were forced to evacuate their Carboor property after the Buffalo River fire started to spot in the area.

“We woke up at 5.30am Sunday thinking it was going to be a good day but you could barely see two metres in front of you outside…we were covered in ash and found some burn holes in the chair outside,” Ms Skosples told the Wangaratta Chronicle, as the family sought safe refuge at the Wangaratta Showgrounds this week.

“Our property is the last one before the edge of the forest and with 300 acres of bush there was essentially only one way in or out so we had to make a quick decision to leave or stay.

“We were wary of the spot fires hitting us so we did have a little time to prepare which we used to dampen everything, fill the gutters with water and put some spray guns on the roof but it’s not much.

“We were basically surrounded by fires and as we drove out it was just as red as a Coke can in front of us with barely anything visible and the fire right next to us as we left. “Kris’ parents said they were right behind us but they never came and decided to defend their property so they were still creating fire breaks on Monday with the help of the local CFA.

“I work in Carboor and I was supposed to go back to work Monday but when I rang my boss, who’s part of the CFA crew, she was in tears and telling me to stay out.”Ellie said when they got to Wangaratta and were met with a familiar face – Wendy Ferguson who had to evacuate her Milawa home – she was overcome with emotion.

“To see Wendy and talk about everything with her, it was just nice to see someone we knew and could talk to,” she said.

“The plan now is to just stay in Wangaratta until we know for sure it’s safe. “The showgrounds and everyone here have been amazing.

“We’re so grateful to be able to turn up here and have everything we need; even if we don’t get to sleep in our own beds.”


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