South Coast holidaymakers stick it out

For Illawarra resident Kylie-Ann Haynes and her family, Tuesday turned into a waiting game as the threat of bushfires loomed near their Berrara caravan.

The family had been warned about potential fires in the area but made the decision to stick it out, preparing to sleep on the beach with 180 fellow holidaymakers from the Berrara Beach Caravan Park.

"We've been told we could evacuate to the Sussex Inlet RSL but we're going to head to the beach and sleep on the sand," she said.

Mrs Haynes said her family had received the fire warning on Tuesday morning and had watched the conditions throughout the day.

"We looked at the sky in the morning and could only see a little bit of smoke but at about 2pm everything changed," she said.

"The smoke was getting thicker and you could see the embers flying ... there's this horrible hot wind too. I was putting sunscreen on and I was literally wiping off black dust, it's awful."

It was a different story in nearby Bendalong as nearly 1000 tourists, including Mount St Thomas resident Angela Boyd-Skinner and her family, evacuated the Bendalong Point Tourist Park after the Rural Fire Service issued an emergency warning.

The Boyd-Skinners fled the park to stay with family in Ulladulla, making the decision to evacuate as the smoke overhead got thicker.

"We heard the warnings [on Monday night] but didn't think much of it," Ms Boyd-Skinner said.

"We kept listening to the radio yesterday and decided to pack a bag, just in case.

"It was still so hot and we saw a little bit of smoke but we didn't think it was that bad.

"Suddenly, we heard helicopters overhead and the park owners came around and recommended we evacuate ,.. we packed our stuff and just got out of there," she said. "Mum's car was the last car they let through before they closed the road into Bendalong, we were pretty lucky."

Brent Huckel, manager of the tourist park, said he and his wife Julie started evacuating hundreds of people around 4pm.

Mr Huckel said he had recommended people leave the site and head towards Ulladulla as a fire at Deans Gap, west of Wandandian, had closed the Braidwood-Nowra Road in the opposite direction.

Elizabeth Boyd-Skinner, Angela's younger sister, said the evacuation had been stressful but the family was in good spirits.

"We're all right. Obviously it was a bit stressful, wondering if it was going to happen and then rushing around to get out, but we're all together and we're safe," she said.

"We're planning on staying the night [in Ulladulla] but we'll see what happens in the next few hours."

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