Two blokes and a ute help save dozens of homes from blaze

Two blokes with a makeshift firefighting ute have helped RFS volunteers defend the hillside town of Wyndham where dozens of homes were saved from bushfires at the weekend.

Only four properties were destroyed in the town, despite the Big Jack Mountain fire devastating the Bega Shire as temperatures reached 42C on Saturday.

Wyndham, on the state's south coast, was expected to cop the full brunt of the ferocious blaze, which merged with two other major fires

And while others fled, ­locals Sheldon Evans and Chris Veness stayed behind to help with the 16-hour firefight in their town.

Wyndham local Sheldon Evans. Picture: Toby Zerna
Wyndham local Sheldon Evans. Picture: Toby Zerna


The duo strapped a 1000-litre tank on the back of their ute and attached it to a mechanical pump.

Mr Sheldon was behind the wheel while Mr Veness clung to the back of the ute and sprayed down fires all over the town.

"The RFS has been good and let us suck water out of their tanks," Mr Evans told The Daily Telegraph.

Sheldon Evans (L) and Chris Veness put out spot fires in the Bega Valley near Wyndham. Picture: Toby Zerna
Sheldon Evans (L) and Chris Veness put out spot fires in the Bega Valley near Wyndham. Picture: Toby Zerna

The pair were in full force when the ember attack started on Wyndham at around 4pm on Sunday.

Two hours later the mates had another trailer and tank attached to their ute.

"It is our town, we are just trying our best to protect it," Mr Veness said.

"I'd always been told spot fires are the ones that destroy homes - we didn't want to let that happen to our friends and neighbours."

The two men even managed to save a Rosella suffering smoke inhalation. It was wrapped in a beanie before being placed in the glove box next to a cold Esky.

A house on Mt Darragh Rd in Wyndham was destroyed by the Big Jack Mountain fire late in the day. Picture: Toby Zerna
A house on Mt Darragh Rd in Wyndham was destroyed by the Big Jack Mountain fire late in the day. Picture: Toby Zerna

Despite only destroying four homes in Wyndham, the bushfire ended up claiming dozens more across the Bega Shire.

"This pushes our total losses in Bega Valley to well over 400," Bega Valley Shire Mayor Kristy McBain said.

"It's hard for people because this has been going on for 34 days and counting.

"We had homes lost on day one and day 34 we are still losing homes."

Just outside of Wyndham, mother of two Allana Jones lost her shed.

It was her fifth evacuation from the town in the past month.

An RFS truck drives past trees alight in the hills behind Wyndham. Picture: Toby Zerna
An RFS truck drives past trees alight in the hills behind Wyndham. Picture: Toby Zerna

Her partner Will Hatcher had been staying in their friend's caravan at a small town near Merimbula.

"It is just the stress of it. We don't know what is happening when the fires come," Ms Jones said.

"I'm at the point now I don't even know what I need to take when are told to evacuate."

She spent Saturday night with her friend Hayley Lewis.

"It is so worrying when you have friends who live in these areas," she said.

 

 

Wyndham local Chris Veness. Picture: Toby Zerna
Wyndham local Chris Veness. Picture: Toby Zerna
The mates helped RFS volunteers save dozens of homes from the bushfire. Picture: Toby Zerna
The mates helped RFS volunteers save dozens of homes from the bushfire. Picture: Toby Zerna
Trees alight in the hills behind Wyndham from the Big Jack Mountain fire in the Bega Valley. Picture: Toby Zerna
Trees alight in the hills behind Wyndham from the Big Jack Mountain fire in the Bega Valley. Picture: Toby Zerna
The mates saved a rosella that was overcome by the heat and smoke. Picture: Toby Zerna
The mates saved a rosella that was overcome by the heat and smoke. Picture: Toby Zerna
Fire and Rescue NSW fireys put out spot fires in the Bega Valley near Wyndham. Picture: Toby Zerna
Fire and Rescue NSW fireys put out spot fires in the Bega Valley near Wyndham. Picture: Toby Zerna
Allana Jones (L) and Hayley Lewis look through the remains of a shed that was burnt out on their New Buildings Rd property near Wyndham after the Big Jack Mountain fire tore through the area on Saturday. Picture: Toby Zerna
Allana Jones (L) and Hayley Lewis look through the remains of a shed that was burnt out on their New Buildings Rd property near Wyndham after the Big Jack Mountain fire tore through the area on Saturday. Picture: Toby Zerna

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