REGION - Black Ranges evacuees, Mel and Luke Healy, are still rattled and uneasy by an experience that is yet to end.
Mel, Luke and their two and a half year old son Charlie, have been living in the Black Ranges for two years and on Thursday night, were forced to pack up their belongings and leave.
Without being in an emergency alert area, Mel and her family came within two kilometres of the fire and with a wind change, anything was possible.
The Healy family had a fire plan in place, but with their son at the Stawell Hospital having his tonsils removed on the Friday night, their evacuation was delayed.
Both Mel and husband Luke took alternating trips to and from the house collecting different sentimental items.
"We had a baby chicken that we are raising so we carried it around in a plastic box, but our dog was looked after by a friend. Other than that it was mainly photos," Mel said.
"All we really wanted to do was to stay at home."
Out of what only looks to be a terrible situation, there were some positives.
"When communication was lacking between all the services we relied on each other as a community," Mel said.
"When alerts weren't coming through we drove around looking for advice and offering support to others."
Neighbours kept the Healys and other families informed. Mel, at times, was receiving text messages and phone calls from people around the area before alerts.
Mel also touched on others around her that were in a worse position and commended them on the way they had handled themselves given the situation.
"To sum it all up, Love thy neighbour," she said.
During the last few days Mel and her family have been running frantic, but have throughout the whole ordeal, remained positive.
"There are so many upset and angry people around regarding this fire and its a really awful situation to be in," she said.
"There are lots of rumours and blame, but at the end of the day, what can we do other than pack up our stuff, leave our homes and hope for the best."
It is hoped that in the coming days the fire will be completely extinguished.
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