'It's like the end of the world': former Jersey resident forced to flee her home from Australian bushfires

A former Jersey resident has described balls of fire, debris raining down on her house and daylight blocked out by clouds of smoke, as she escaped bush fires around her Australian home.

Lucy Wilson is one of tens of thousands of residents forced to evacuate their properties because of the deadly blazes.

The former Les Quennevais student, along with her husband, two young children and her mother were evacuated to the nearby beach at Bermagui to escape the flames at 1am on New Year's Day.

You look at the clock and it was 7 o'clock in the morning, you'd swear it was 9, or 10 o'clock at night. I think that scared me, because I was like 'it's the end of the world'. The smell and the sound and the heat, and then it would go hot and then cold. You just go through the range of emotions.

Lucy Wilson
Australia's Rural Fire Services attempted to stop the spread of the fires across the country Credit: ITV

The family managed to return home, but are prepared to evacuate again at a moment's notice, after officials warned wind directions could push the flames back towards their property.

The intensity of the heat, the fires are creating their own storm cells and they're just sending fire balls. Even though we've cleared the property around our house, it's still hard to tell.

Lucy Wilson
The sky was filled with smog in Cobargo on January 1 Credit: SEAN DAVEY/AAP/PA Images

Mrs Wilson moved to the Channel Islands with her Jersey born mum in 1997, she worked in St Helier, until she moved back to Australia in 2006 aged 21.

She now lives on her vineyard in Coolagolite, on the far south coast of New South Wales. Despite having just a few properties the area is larger than Jersey.

  • At one stage we thought we were going to have to jump in the sea with blankets over us”

In an interview via Skype, Mrs Wilson described fireballs raining down on nearby fields and cows being bowled over, but despite being able to return to her property she remains worried about what is to come.

  • "It's like imagining Jersey being completely wiped out in the space of half an hour"

On 8 January the Rural Fire Services visited their family's property, checking their plans are in place as they have been warned another fire is likely to come. The entire community is on edge to receive another midnight phone call warning them to leave.

Despite being affected by fires in the past Mrs Wilson says she has never seen anything like this.

Even if her property remains untouched, she believes the community will be scarred for a lifetime.

Until it really kicks in, when the hype is over and the media leave and we are just left to get on with it that’s when people aren’t going to cope very well.

Lucy Wilson

She says the community of Cobargo remains united, thankful for the donations people have given to them. "It has helping a lot of people to know that people are caring."