Family holiday turns to fear as bushfires close in

ONE local family has been through a nerve-racking ordeal as the Tasmanian bushfires raged.

Ethan Archer, 12, (pictured) had been on holiday with his grandparents and extended family in Tasmania while his mother Karen Foster was at home in Suffolk Park, having returned to work after Christmas.

The family group of 18 had been staying at Ethan's grandparents' holiday house in Eaglehawk Neck, and while spending the day at a beach at Stewarts Bay they were informed that Eaglehawk Neck had been evacuated and they could not return.

Ethan's grandmother, Jan Foster, recalls they quickly headed to White Beach, where Ethan's aunt has a beachside cabin.

They then experienced a scary few days of panic, preparing to jump into a boat at a moment's notice, and having almost no contact with friends and family, including Ms Foster, who was very worried about her son, par- ents and extended family during this time.

"It wasn't a good place to be in," Ethan's grandmother said.

"But we made it an adventure for the kids."

Ethan said the whole experience was a bit weird: "Not a normal holiday."

"It was a bit scary; we didn't know really what was going on.

"We were listening to the radio and we found out it was pretty bad."

This time was hell for Ethan's mother, who had little contact with her family due to loss of electrical power.

"It was awful, sitting here and not knowing, not knowing where they were," Ms Foster said.

After a few days of improvising housing at Ethan's aunt's holiday house, they were told they could head back to Eaglehawk Neck, but after arriving there the wind changed direction and they were taken on a convoy back to Ethan's grandpar- ents' home in Hobart, where they are now safe.



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