David Grant left his camp site as soon as he saw thick black smoke approaching.
David Grant left his camp site as soon as he saw thick black smoke approaching. brian cassidy

'I looked out and went holy s--t': How veteran fled bushfire

DAVID Grant didn't smell the Woodgate fire yesterday.

He didn't even notice it until he saw the cloud of black smoke approaching his camp site, which he reckoned was less than a kilometre east of the roadblock.

"I didn't see it until f-----g an hour ago, didn't smell a thing," he said yesterday afternoon.

"I looked out and went 'holy s--t'.

The ex-army vet has been living at a remote camp in a camper trailer for two or three months with his three dogs.

He said his story was "the usual s--t", but he made the decision to put himself out in the bush.

"I'm 54 mate, nobody wants to employ you, not in my situation anyway," Mr Grant said.

All his worldly possessions were at his camp, but he didn't want to take the hour-and-a-half necessary to hitch up his trailer and all his things.

"I started packing up, just grabbed what I could," he said.

Mr Grant said he tried to grab everything he could, but in the middle of the day out in the bush, the metal on all his things was very hot and made some things difficult to pack.

"I just prioritised what I could get and threw it in the back."

He it was difficult to leave most of his possessions behind knowing the volatility of the fire could mean he didn't see them again.

"If I lose all that, I'm f----d," he said.

But he knew he couldn't replace his own life, or those of his dogs, so left as soon as was practical.

His main concern after getting back on the safe side of Woodgate Road after it had been closed was finding water for his dogs.

He tried Heidkes Road into Camp Gregory where he had previously stayed, but was turned back by police.

Camp Gregory was evacuated yesterday afternoon as police made an emergency declaration and established an exclusion zone.

The exclusion zone was bounded by the Burrum River west of the Bruce Highway, north to Goodwood Road and east to the Elliott River.