‘Catastrophic conditions’ was the weather warning.

It felt like a hell on earth; 47 degrees, blasting violent wind and red tinged clouds of black smoke looming over our farm shedding grey ash.

We had raced back from Sydney to our property near Merriwa, NSW to see a terrifying sight as we came up the road; it was impossible to determine where it was all coming from but it seemed to be moving fast. The message on our phone said to evacuate. The RFS site gave more details and we worked out the fire front was about 50kms away so we had maybe 5 hours before we were in its path.

I had taken a small bag of valuables with me for an overnight stay in Sydney just in case, but now I packed another box.

Have you ever thought about what you would grab?

Wallet, phone, water, the dog, medications??

The wind changed direction about 5pm and the southerly sent the fire towards another farming area having burned out 50,000 hectares of grass and feed and some sheds and houses. Luckily no loss of life.

As I unpacked the fire plan bag this morning,  I had to smile at my choices: passports, a few photos, some jewellery, my shoes from Paris(!), and of course my computer back up and thumb drives with 20 years of writing(! )plus the lead for the dog and some dog biscuits.

So now I have restored all the objects to their usual place but we have the slipons mounted on the utes with water tank, firefighter engine and hoses ready, just in case.

It is slightly cooler today and the wind has dropped but further west of us, the town of Coolah is still in danger.