Firey holiday for caravan park evacuees

By John Lewis

A heavy pall of smoke still blanketed Euroa's Balmattum Hill yesterday, three days after a blaze which lit up the hill like a Christmas tree on Saturday.

As the fire bore down on the township during the afternoon, nervous residents began to leave.

Euroa Caravan Park co-owner Warrwick Cakebread decided that by 3 pm it was time to evacuate the popular holiday park on the banks of the Sevens Creek.

“It was calm in the morning, but then wind got up on the south side of the hill. There were about 10 fire trucks up there, and some people were packing up,” Mr Cakebread said.

“I was looking at the emergency app, then in the afternoon we made the decision to evacuate,” he said.

He said the park, which can hold up to 120 people, was about half full with holidaymakers.

“Some were looking really worried,” he said.

At the height of the blaze, six fire bombing aircraft and about 50 CFA fire trucks were involved battling the fire which ripped through 350 ha of bushland and temporarily closed the Hume Hwy.

Mr Cakebread said his father took his two children to safety at the Euroa Hotel while he and his wife Kristy stayed at the park.

“We've got a 1000 l water tank here and we got the fire hoses out, but luckily the fire didn't cross the highway. It was handled really well, the CFA did a really good job,” he said.

“With the amount of wood up there, it'll probably smoulder for at least another month,” he said.

He said he was forced to cancel some reservations because of the fire threat.