Snowy Mountains fires twice threaten Adelong and Mount Adrah properties within a week

'WE WILL REBUILD': Ann Perkins and her husband Wal have lost their Mount Adrah property, but remain optimistic that they will rebuild in time. Picture: Emma Hillier
'WE WILL REBUILD': Ann Perkins and her husband Wal have lost their Mount Adrah property, but remain optimistic that they will rebuild in time. Picture: Emma Hillier

Not a blade of grass still stands in place at Ann and Wal Perkins' rural property near Mount Adrah.

Their property was devastated by the fire that tore through the area just over a week ago.

Those properties around them that had been saved the finality of the first fire did not avoid its return on Friday night.

"It's devastating when you first see it," Mrs Perkins said. "You expect to find a little bit of grass somewhere, but there's nothing. Not a blade of grass to be seen."

While their business property has been destroyed by the bushfire, Mr and Mrs Perkins remain optimistic.

With their house still standing in nearby Adelong, they are, after all, among the lucky ones.

"We have our house and we have each other," Mrs Perkins said. "Even though you could lose everything, if you've got your life then you'll know how lucky you are."

Fires have twice threatened the township of Adelong.

On January 4, an out-of-control blaze came as close as the town's cemetery, just kilometres away from the residential area.

Scorched grass and trees border the headstones, laying witness to how close they were to losing everything.

Having left for Canberra days before the first evacuation order, the Perkins family were not prepared for what they would find upon return.

"There are two of us with disabilities, so we knew if anything happened we would be able to do anything about it," Mrs Perkins said.

"Going to Canberra turned out to be a bad decision, we stayed for four nights but the smoke became too much."

The family then journeyed to Sydney to wait out the worst of the conditions at Ann and Wal's goddaughter's house.

They returned to find their shed, farm and even their caravan completed gutted by fire. Their livestock has also fled the property.

Andrew Hunt, known as 'The Rev' joined the out-of-area strike teams to fight fires in Adelong. Hailing from Forbes, he will travel to Tumbarumba this weekend before returning home.

Andrew Hunt, known as 'The Rev' joined the out-of-area strike teams to fight fires in Adelong. Hailing from Forbes, he will travel to Tumbarumba this weekend before returning home.

"We had been told there had been a small fire, that was the operative word. They said 'small'," Mrs Perkins said.

"But as we drove in, we could see it was all the way out. I just said to Wal, 'oh my God, I can't believe this'. By the time we got to our property, we knew we wouldn't find anything. We were used to seeing the burnt ground by then."

All that greeted them was the smell of smoke, the remains of exploded trees, and grounds littered by dead birds and foxes.

"What's devastating is that you look to your left and your right, all the way out to the hills, and it's all black," Mrs Perkins said.

When winds whipped up again on January 10, the town looked likely to fall victim to ember attacks.

But, the townsfolk say, the hard work of their firefighters, as well as the efforts of two out-of-area strike forces saved their historic village.

FAMILY UNDER FIRE: Angie, Sapphire and Ann Perkins watched the fire trucks patrol around their home in Adelong until the early hours of Saturday morning. Picture: Emma Hillier

FAMILY UNDER FIRE: Angie, Sapphire and Ann Perkins watched the fire trucks patrol around their home in Adelong until the early hours of Saturday morning. Picture: Emma Hillier

"If it weren't for the firefighters putting down all that fire retardant and turning the town pink, we would have lost so much," said Angie Perkins, daughter-in-law of Ann and Wal.

"We probably would have lost the whole town."

Mrs Perkins re-affirmed her daughter-in-law's words, admitting it would have been a sleepless night had it not been for the firefighters.

"You just can't express it in words how wonderful they have been, so self-less putting themselves on the line to save us," Mrs Perkins said.

"All night, you just had to have faith in the firies."

With their home nearly neighbouring the cemetery, the Perkins family were once again on the firing line on Saturday. They watched the fire trucks patrol the town until the early hours of the morning.

"We watched them going back and forth all night, heard the sirens as they were checking up on everything, making sure nothing had caught alight," said the daughter-in-law.

The remains of the Perkins family's caravan. Picture: Sapphire Perkins

The remains of the Perkins family's caravan. Picture: Sapphire Perkins

With cooler conditions now approaching the township has turned their hopes to rebuilding their prime agricultural lands.

"When you've got nothing, you've got a base to start planning from," Mrs Perkins said.

"You can start putting up your fences and your gates and defining where everything will go again. That's what we'll do, begin our fences and find our cattle because we've got no idea where they've gone."

But, the Perkins family and their neighbours are remaining extremely cautious before they begin rebuilding what has been lost.

"I can't see the end to this, not yet. It's as if it won't end until everything is burnt," Mrs Perkins said.

This story 'We will rebuild': Family loses Mount Adrah property but have each other first appeared on The Daily Advertiser.