She added, “On December 30, the CFA [Country Fire Authority] informed the community and said that if you hear fire sirens, you must evacuate. We left our campsite and we were in boats, wearing long-sleeved cotton shirts and hats to protect us from falling embers. “
She also said, “We also had food for the three dogs between us. The morning of Christmas Eve, the sky became black with smoke then red. You could hear gas bottles exploding and houses burning. People did not know what was going on. When the worst of the fire passed, it was like a war zone. There were people walking around with flannels on their faces, wearing ski masks. At midnight, no one was celebrating the New Year. We were all exhausted. No one said, “Happy New Year!” Instead, they all said, “Are you okay buddy?” “
Smith, who suffers from asthma, was taken to the Far Saracen Esso Oil ship for treatment on January 2, with a group of parents and young children. Afterward, she and her family and pets were transferred to HMAS Choules.
She added, “The stories on the ship were heartbreaking. So many people had lost their homes and were on a boat to a city they did not know. ”