Fire destroys several homes and a nature reserve in Upper Pappinbarra

GUTTED: One of the homes destroyed at Upper Pappinbarra by a bushfire. Photo supplied.
GUTTED: One of the homes destroyed at Upper Pappinbarra by a bushfire. Photo supplied.

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People living in Pappinbarra, west of Wauchope hoped they would never lose homes to another bushfire after the devastating blaze of February 2017, but sadly several homes and sheds in the little community were destroyed on Friday night.

Adrian Guthrie had the heartbreak of having to leave his beloved home of 40 years in Upper Pappinbarra knowing he would never see it again. He's been preparing his fire for two days because it was evident that the fire was coming from the other side of the ridge.

CHARRED LANDSCAPE: Upper Pappinbarra near where the bushfire destroyed homes on Friday night. Photo: Letitia Fitzpatrick.

CHARRED LANDSCAPE: Upper Pappinbarra near where the bushfire destroyed homes on Friday night. Photo: Letitia Fitzpatrick.

"When it did arrive, it arrived very violently and very quickly," said Adrian.

"The impact was quite other-worldly. There were hurricane-like winds that were blowing heavy objects around. I realised it wasn't safe to stay and I drove away with the car lights on because it was very dark. The fire storm was very severe, very loud, and had travelled very quickly at the end.

"It was very obvious even though I'd done what I could - I had 20 acres of mowed lawn around my house - but it wasn't isolated enough and the house was made of timber. After such a long period of dry weather, everything is inflammable."

Adrian made a nature reserve around the property decades ago. All that remains now is his orchard. He also lost precious paintings and thousands of books.

Kerryn Patrick and her granddaughter, Chloe escaped the Upper Pappinbarra fire.

Kerryn Patrick and her granddaughter, Chloe escaped the Upper Pappinbarra fire.

Kerryn Patrick left her husband behind to defend their house and said it was really scary, and that they had to go through Bellangry State Forest, because the Pappinbarra junction bridge was burning.

"It was getting really smoky and my daughter and my grandchildren and I left. The houses were vulnerable to ember attacks. My brother-in-law lost his sheds. We got to Wauchope and we had just come through such a harrowing experience getting out, and everything was so normal, which seemed surreal," said Kerryn.

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