Reluctant Aussies flee as fires approach Sydney; danger not over yet

Horses being led to safety at the showgrounds in Taree, 350km north of Sydney, yesterday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Horses being led to safety at the showgrounds in Taree, 350km north of Sydney, yesterday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

When mother-of-three Donna Benstead saw the smoke surrounding her family home in the town of Port Macquarie in eastern Australia yesterday morning, she realised that it was time to flee.

The night before, as bush fires approached the town, she and her husband packed up the family's most precious possessions, including birth certificates. When they woke yesterday, the weather proved to be as bad as predicted - hot, windy, dry conditions that were fanning a series of out-of-control fires in the region around the town, which is about 400km north of Sydney.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2019, with the headline 'Reluctant Aussies flee as fires approach; danger not over yet'. Print Edition | Subscribe