Bugger. Bushfire volunteer dies. I thought we'd got away with no deaths this time.
Some good news. As I came back from the jetty this morning, it started to rain and it's not long stopped. Not enough to put the fires out completely by any means but enough to damp them down a bit.
The smell of fresh smoke woke me up at five thirty and I could see it rising from Phegans Bay. Went down to the jetty at the end of Rawson Road again to have a look at the damage. Smoke was rising from small spots all over the ridges from Woy Woy Bay to Deadman's (Correa Bay). The worst spot was Correa (photo). The fire was still really active there. I couldn't see flames but the smoke was coming off it pretty fast. All white smoke this morning, off all the spots near Woy Woy.
Phegans Bay and Monastir Road (left) on the ridge between it and Horsfield Bay. Taken from the end of Rawson Road 6.30am.
Talked to a guy on the jetty who'd come down to check on his house. He pointed it out. It didn't look damaged. He pointed out a shed near his place on Monastir Road and said he saw the fire close to it as he was leaving yesterday. I saw a small fire burning there last night at 7.45.
Most of Monastir Road looked undamaged, though there was a firetruck cruising it with lights flashing. Further along, in Phegans Bay proper, another firetruck was cruising with lights flashing on the bottom section of Phegans Bay Road, near 'Minerva'. (Minerva fans will be glad to know she's okay and can see a larger picture of her here.)
I think this is Horsfield Road. It's certainly Horsfield Bay. Taken from the Correa Bay Reserve in Woy Woy at 6.30.
When I went to bed at midnight I could see a flare-up over at Correa Bay but it hadn't got any worse for an hour. The guy on the jetty told me he'd come back at 1am and the flames were "leaping" in Phegans Bay. He got out yesterday afternoon. He grabbed his animals and evacuated as soon as it looked dangerous. On the ABC news last night they said there were evacuee shelters at Woy Woy Bowls club and Gosford RSL but he'd gone to Roosters Leagues club in Blackwall Road and there were "a hundred people" there.
The houses are on the Woy Woy part of Woy Woy Bay Road. The abattoir is out of sight behind the mangroves at the end of the bay. Taken from the Pier Street jetty in Woy Woy at 6.30. On the big version you can see a spot fire burning below the main smoke.
Road block near Correa Bay Reserve on the Woy Woy part of Woy Woy Bay Road at 6.30am. They let a couple of cars through while I was there but turned most away. One woman said they were residents of The Bays and they'd been told to get through via Gosford. That means the F3 (intercity highway) was re-opened.
The Wondabyne fire at 6.30am. It looks worse than it did last night. The houses in the foreground are on the Woy Woy part of Woy Woy Bay Road.
I could see the Wondabyne fire last night but thought it was a cloud and mistook the Correa Bay fire for it. The Wondabyne fire is probably what closed the railway line. The line runs along the edge of Mullet Creek and stops at Wondabyne just near the quarry on the creek.
Luckily we didn't have to evacuate here on the Peninsula. The ash we were getting on our balconies never turned to sparks. I didn't have to organise all the Dear Old Things into their slippers and load them and their budgies into commandeered cars and get them down to the shelters.