Community shows support amid bushfire devastation
A LOWMEAD resident only had time to grab her dogs, medication and paperwork as the bushfire front headed towards her home.
Margaret Mitchell has lived in the area for 10 years and had to leave her property last night as the bushfire raged through the region.
She described the blaze as "ferocious".
"It was like this big monster coming towards you," Ms Mitchell said.
"It was calm, and then all of the sudden everything just broke out."
She said the wind changed everything and all she could see was huge smoke and flames.
"It was just grab what you can and get out," she said.
Ms Mitchell tried to return to her property this morning at 7am but the area was blocked off to residents for safety.
"I'm trying to keep my mind off it, but it's hard when you're sitting around," she said.
To keep herself occupied, Ms Mitchell has been helping staff at Rosedale Royal Hotel and Caravan Park, who has housed and fed residents affected by the fires.
Rosedale Royal Hotel and Caravan Park Publican Michelle Dingle said they have housed more than 25 to 30 people, including three families.
"We've just given them beds, food and access to showers," Ms Dingle said.
"Some of them have been here for three days."
"A lot of them have brought their pets as well," she said.
Ms Dingle said the pub also provided food and water to firefighters on the front lines.
"We are busy trying to feed people here and firefighters as well," she said.
Ms Mitchell said the Lowmead community has been "beautiful".
"We're just sitting around here trying to reassure one another and to look after each other as a community," she said.
"As a community we need this support, because although we are on acreage, you still have to look after one another and make sure everyone is okay."
Ms Mitchell said she could not thank firefighters enough for their efforts.
"They've been absolutely wonderful," she said.
On Tuesday, residents and injured firefighters sought refuge at Corso's Lowmead Hotel.
Corso's Lowmead Hotel Owner Tracey Corson-Crook said it was the worst fire she's seen since she moved to the area six years ago.
Other hotels in the area have also offered support to fire affected residents and their pets by allowing them to stay at their hotel for free.
Miriam Vale Hotel has also offered accommodation to people affected by fires.
If you have been evacuated from your home due to the Mt Maria/Lowmead fire and require accommodation please contact Council on 49700700.
Residents are encouraged to attend the Miriam Vale Administration Centre next to the Miriam Vale Community Centre during the day and if accommodation is required Council has plans in place with local hotels and motels.