An eerie smoke haze had settled on the historic village of Braidwood by Saturday afternoon, its main street quiet with most of the usual coast-bound traffic gone.
In the morning, half the usual number of farmers' market stallholders offered their wares inside the National Theatre. The fishmonger was stuck at the coast with the Kings Highway shut.
As William and Ellie Honey played hopscotch on the footpath outside the theatre, rumours swirled up and down the street about the closure of the highway and when it might be reopened.
Unsuspecting Canberrans with trips to the beach planned arrived in town completely unaware they would not be able to get through.
The volunteers behind the desk in the visitors' centre had to keep repeating the message: the only way to the coast was to go down through Bega.
Sue Perryman called in at the visitors' centre about mid-morning to offer a spare room in her house in town to anyone who might need it.
"Someone asked me last week if I could accommodate someone and I said, 'Yes'. But they had actually found alternative accommodation. "I said, 'I've got a spare room and we may as well just make use of it'," Ms Perryman told the Sunday Canberra Times.
She joined many others who had provided somewhere to sleep to people who had evacuated from the fire.
Ms Perryman said there had been a lot of apprehension and concern in the town, but the firefighters had done a remarkable job.
"We sit and wait, really," she said.
"I think we're very lucky to live where we live and this is just such a sad thing."
A group of local kids, riding up and down the main street on bikes and a skateboard, collected money for the Rural Fire Service as the smoke seemed to get worse.
Among the group, River Parsons busked with a violin to help raise money for the firefighters. They raised a little over $100.
An anxious feeling still lingered in the town after long, hot and windy days had given way to a calmer, slightly cooler weekend. But there was certainly no inkling of complacency
Supplies had got back into town after shortages at the supermarket and chemist last week when Braidwood was under threat, residents said.
But there were still plenty of people taking precautions before the hot weather returns from Monday.
James Fitzgerald, who normally looks after koalas at three sanctuaries he owns and manages, was helping to evacuate wombats from Majors Creek.
"Wombats are like bulldozers, so you need very firm facilities," he said, standing behind a wombat tucked in the back of a car ready for a trip to Jervis Bay.
"The week before [last], I was talking to [the owners of the Majors Creek Wombat Refuge], because I know Majors Creek is in the direct path of the fire, and it was pretty clear they were going to need some help.
"I, without even bringing any change of clothes, just went to their place and managed to negotiate my way through the police road block. I've just been helping them to prepare their house."
Mr Fitzgerald was heading towards Canberra with wombats safely in store while a documentary film crew followed him.
By mid-afternoon the National Theatre had transformed into an evacuation centre.
Plenty of staff were on hand even though when the Sunday Canberra Times stopped in it was still very quiet.
But everyone knew that if the wind changed direction, all that could change in little more than a moment.