Record-setting heat and tinder dry conditions have brought devastating bushfires to Australia in recent weeks, hitting the island state of Tasmania the hardest. One family’s harrowing escape was captured in terrifying detail with pictures of them fleeing to water to avoid the fast moving flames.
As the wildfire quickly engulfed the area surrounding their home in Dunalley, the Holmes family was in desperate need of a place to run. Escape by land was not an option as all routes were cut off by the fire.
Tim and Tammy Holmes snatched up their five grandchildren ranging in age from two to eleven and fled to a nearby jetty.
In an interview with ABC, Tim Holmes told a harrowing tale.
“We saw tornadoes of fire just coming across towards us,” Holmes said. “The next thing we knew everything was on fire all around us.”
The family initially watched the flames encircle them from a dock but soon were forced into water up to their necks. Flames moved down to the shoreline and the air was acrid with smoke as the family clung to each other – and life – for three hours.
The images Holmes took of the fire and his family as they huddled in the water are compelling and heart wrenching.
The community of Dunalley was hit hardest by the wildfires with some estimates saying that as much as a third of the town was destroyed. Fires continue to burn in Tasmania as well as mainland Australia in the wake of a record-breaking heat wave.