Fire near Queanbeyan destroys homes

SAFELY EVACUATED: Teneille Tuoro with her horse Minnie. Photo: Kimberley Le Lievre.
SAFELY EVACUATED: Teneille Tuoro with her horse Minnie. Photo: Kimberley Le Lievre.

Teneille Tuoro was relieved to escape the Carwoola blaze with her family and horses, but was concerned for her father who stayed behind to protect their homes.

She was one of a number of fire-affected residents who flocked to evacuation centres in Queanbeyan on Friday afternoon.

Ms Tuoro was evacuated by emergency services, along with her husband, four-year-old son, mother and four horses, earlier in the day on Friday as the fire took hold and became an emergency situation.

As of about 8pm on Friday evening, the Carwoola blaze was downgraded from emergency warning to watch and act, however residents were urged to remain vigilant as the fire continued to burn out of control.

ESCAPE: Native animals fled the fire as it tore through land around them. Photo: Jay Cronan

ESCAPE: Native animals fled the fire as it tore through land around them. Photo: Jay Cronan

The fire had burnt through more than 2700 hectares and destroyed a number of homes, according to emergency services.

Ms Tuoro said from her property at Radcliffe, about 10 minutes out of Queanbeyan, she could see the flames.

“We got told to evacuate,” she said.

“Apparently the wind was going away, then it changed and it was coming towards our property, and apparently it’s going away again now.

“I think our property is OK at the moment, the fire has burnt around it.”

DEVASTATING: As at 8pm on Friday the fire had burnt about 2531 hectares. Photo: Jay Cronan

DEVASTATING: As at 8pm on Friday the fire had burnt about 2531 hectares. Photo: Jay Cronan

She said she felt slight relief as the wind changed direction.

“My dad is still there. He shouldn’t be out there, but he has a plan if the fire hits.”

Ms Tuoro said since they had arrived at the Queanbeyan showground with their horses at about 3pm, strangers and people in houses neighbouring the safe haven had offered them anything they needed.

“Complete strangers have come up and said, ‘you can come shower at my house’. They’ve dropped off food and water, and we have no idea who they are.”

She said horse feed had been donated, as well as other essentials, which was a relief given others hadn’t had time to bring any.

Just after 7pm on Friday evening as the family was settling in to stay the night, she called her father for an update on the situation at the fire ground.

He said the fire was still close, but the homes were probably going to be alright.