Peregian fire: ‘Thick black smoke coming straight at me’
Photographer Lachie Millard last night described the fear he felt for his young family and their home in the path of destructive Sunshine Coast fires.
The Sunshine Coast father said he was in an instant panic when he was working at home and smelt smoke wafting into his home yesterday afternoon.
The father-of-one, from Peregian Beach, said he realised that his toddler's childcare was near the fire and immediately rushed to pick him up.
"And in that time I picked him up and got to Peregian Beach the fire had extended quite a lot and I thought I better go get the dog next," he told The Courier-Mail.
Mr Millard said he rushed back home to get his dog before driving back up to Noosa where his wife Frida was working.
"I told my partner to stay and then I went back to Perigean Beach," he said.
When he returned home at about 6pm he said the fire was already at the bottom of his street near David Low Way which is the main road that runs through Perigean Beach.
"It was just black smoke coming straight for our house and for our street. I was pretty panicky I wasn't as calm as I wanted to be," he said.
Mr Millard said the first thing he did was run in and grabbed hard drives filled with precious baby photos of their firstborn, passports and family photo albums.
"It was getting thick with smoke so I couldn't think to get anything else," he said.
The photographer then quickly hosed down his property to give it the best chances before he fled.
Mr Millard said he was worried about the high winds making it particularly difficult for the firefighters.
"The winds were super intense, super strong, the strongest I felt in a westerly non-cyclonic event.
"Thick black smoke with winds felt like they were circling around the town and there was debris smacking on the roofs," he said.
He then drove about half a kilometre north of Perigean town to get a look of the fire.
He said seeing the flames on David Low Way made it all very "real" for him.
"That's when it all became real because you know it's people's houses are going," he said.