The day started calm and the fire seemed to be under control around midday. I was making jam and could the smoke out my kitchen window about 3pm when suddenly a mushroom cloud exploded into the sky. Apparently the fire had moved into the new Adventure Bike Park and the pylons through there had exploded. It was an incredible sight and suddenly the fire was obviously uncontrollable and highly dangerous.
The wind had turned to an easterly and the fire changed direction and was rapidly heading towards houses on Worsley Spur and Westmorland. During the evening the two fires (Tai Tapu and Sign of the Kiwi) joined up to create a fire area of 1800 hectares. It crossed Dyers Pass Rd and went into Victoria Park so houses in that area were urgently evacuated. With the strong wind blowing the hills were ablaze with a huge ferocious fire which looked as though it would never be contained.
Overall there have been 11 homes destroyed, about 1000 people evacuated, and one helicopter pilot tragically killed..
My heart goes out to the crews who have fought so hard to stop this, and when they though they were nearly there it suddenly turned to chaos.