Sydney - Just when John Aish and his partner Jenny Shea thought they had beaten the inferno ravaging their two properties in Australia's south east on New Year's Eve, a roaring fireball came through forcing them to flee.
Aish and Shea did not see each other until the following morning. They are now camping near Cobargo, about 10 km (6.2 miles) away from their hometown of Wandella.
"We tried really hard. We thought we’d had it beat but the big fireballs came and I said, 'come on kids, we got to go'," Shea told Reuters.
"Glad we got out when we did."
Fires have ripped through more than 8 million hectares (19.8 million acres) of land this summer fire season, an area nearly the size of Austria, razing thousands of building and leaving some towns without electricity and mobile coverage.