December 22, 2019

Australian man describes how he survived bushfire in makeshift shelter as inferno roared around him
An Australian man who became trapped by a bushfire has described how he survived the inferno as it tore through his property at the weekend. Steve Harrison decided to stay for as long as possible to defend his home in the New South Wales village of Balmoral, which was all but wiped out by the out-of-control fires on Saturday.  "When it came, it came in like three or four minutes, just a big plume of black smoke and then ember fallout," recalled Mr Harrison. In an interview with ABC, the 67-year-old artist described how he frantically tried to turn on the sprinklers on buildings in his property but within minutes he found himself trapped, unable to escape. "My garden was already on fire here. And the driveway was on fire, and the road was on fire. So I realised I couldn't evacuate," Mr Harrison said. Steve Harrison is lucky to be alive. The potter hid in his ‘makeshift kiln’ for 20 mins as the Green Wattle Creek fire engulfed his property. He watched his beloved potting shed burn to the ground but thankfully his house is still standing. @abcsydney@abcnewspic.twitter.com/mG6o73MBLF— Lydia Feng (@LydiaLFeng) December 22, 2019 He said he had to turn to his plan B: Hiding in a small kiln, just the size of a coffin, that he had built the day before. It was just big enough for him to crawl inside, he said. "I hid in there for half an hour while the firestorm went over," he said. "It was huge, just glowing orange-red everywhere. Just scary. I was terrified." Mr Harrison said all his neighbours' homes had been destroyed, but his efforts to protect his home meant it was still standing. "I put a lot of money and effort and time into putting dedicated firefighting pumps just to run the sprinklers on the walls and roof," he told ABC News. "My wife and I spent the day wrapping [the house] up in aluminium foil to reflect the heat."  Bushfires rage as Australian heatwave leads to hottest ever day, in pictures The village of Balmoral, southwest of Sydney, was devastated by the Green Wattle Creek firestorm that roared through the area twice in three days. Dozens of homes have been lost since Thursday in massive wildfires, including the Gospers Mountain blaze, which covered more than 460,000 hectares (1.1 million acres). Thirty firefighters from Canada and nine from the United States were among fresh crews set to join the battle against the fires on Sunday.
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