FIRE FRONT: Close call for dirtgirlworld creators
Despite evacuating from their Camira Creek property to escape an out-of-control bushfire, Dirtgirlworld creators Cate McQuillen and Hewey Eustace weren't too phased by the chaos.
The alarm was raised last night when the Myall Creek fire began racing west toward Whiporie and ripping through a pine plantation just a few kilometres from their home.
"For us, last night was only about having one way out and when it comes to a fire, you don't want to be out of options, so we made the call to enact our bushfire plan and leave," Ms McQuillen said.
Taking refuge at a friend's place in Casino, the pair were relieved to learn that the fire failed to reach their home.
"We heard that there were spot fires nearby but there were so many crews in the area to keep watch," she said.
"Just when we were about to leave our place we had a crew pull up. They were coming to see what the situation was for our property so we were able to show them where our tanks were, our ponds, dams… it was really good to have a talk to them and walk around the property and to look at how well Hewey has done in preparing the place for any imminent fire.
"It was kind of funny though because in the middle of this craziness, when they pulled up they realised who we were and were telling us how much they loved the show."
Ms McQuillen said having a bushfire survival plan was the key to remaining calm and focussed throughout the ordeal.
"You simply have to have a plan because improvising doesn't work," she said.
EMERGENCY WARNING - Myall Creek Fire (Richmond Valley) the fire is burning towards the Summerland Way near Whiporie. There has been reports of spot fires in the Camira Creek area. People in the area are advised to seek shelter as the fire approaches. #NSWRFS pic.twitter.com/wm1XSy2Qr8— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) November 19, 2019
"I didn't know how I was going to feel about being in the situation we were in last night because we'd never done it before, but because we had planned it, had talked about it, we were able to simply follow the plan and leave and so I feel pretty happy because we've been able to remain calm and focussed."
However, Ms McQuillen admitted there was one thing she found a little difficult to leave behind.
"We weren't just driving away from home but driving away from Dirtgirlworld as well," she said.
"It's all built in the paddocks there so we were leaving that behind. I really thought I'd struggle with that, but it was good to see, that when push came to shove, I felt in my heart that it was okay to leave it behind."
The Myall Creek fire was downgraded to Advice on Wednesday, giving residents the opportunity to return to their homes for now.
"Hewey has gone back in while it's still safe to go in, to do more whipper snipping and mowing and keep everything wet around the house," Ms McQuillen said.