Will Miller felt hopeless as the sky turned grey with smoke and the roads leading south closed.
His family's dairy farm in Berry has become an evacuation ground for large animals displaced by Currowan fire which tore through the Kangaroo Valley earlier this week, destroying homes and threatening agricultural land.
All the ACT Brumby can do is cross his fingers and hope the wind doesn't take a turn for the worst.
"It's a little bit of a watch in case the wind changes, especially [on Friday] being a hotter day," Miller said.
"The fire hasn't come through [Berry] yet, we've just got a lot of evacuated animals from other places like the Kangaroo Valley at the Showground and our place.
"There are a lot of horses and bigger animals because you need a big space for them, so the facilities at the Showground make it a lot easier. It's pretty full and it's good the community can help out that way, it's such a bad time.
"It's a lot worse off for the people down towards Corbargo, Milton and the areas down there.
"We're trying to help out where we can but there's not a whole lot we can do at the moment unfortunately, which is a bit annoying. We're just hoping the fire doesn't come through our place."
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Miller has been training in Newcastle with the Brumbies since Monday, after the Super Rugby club was forced to shift their training base due to the hazardous air quality in Canberra.
The high-humidity and post-Christmas collision sessions have been a shock to the system for the club's stars, but it's a welcome distraction for the 26-year-old flanker.
"The first few days were tough but when you get back into the swing of it, it sort of takes your mind off it a bit which is good," Miller said.
"It's so tough training that it lets your mind off it, to think of something else and not put all your energy into that."
The openside flanker is yearning for a consistent Super Rugby start having been stuck behind Michael Hooper at the NSW Waratahs.
Miller has played 34 games since making his Super Rugby debut in 2017, but earned only two starts in 12 games for the Waratahs last season.
He joined the Brumbies on a two-year-deal in a bid to take his career to the next level, joining the tight competition to fill the void left by the retired David Pocock.
Tom Cusack had the No. 7 duties for most of last season after Pocock injured his calf, but now jostles with the likes of Miller and Jahrome Brown.
"[Cusack] is a great player and leader, I've really enjoyed playing with him so far," Miller said.
"There definitely [is a healthy competition] for spots. Anyone who performs the best and works best for the team will be the way [selectors] go. Whichever way that is, I'm sure the boys will perform well and put their best foot forward.
"I'm just hoping when I can get the chance, I can do that and play well."
The Brumbies have one day scheduled for trial matches, but the full squad is expected to be used across two games against the Melbourne Rebels on January 23.
They'll then have seven days to prepare for their season-opener against the Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium.
"It's always a step up as we build towards the season," Miller said.
"I think we've done a really good job this week and I'm looking forward to building towards the trial and first game.
"I'm feeling good and I can't wait to start playing. It'll be good to get out there and put all the work we've done these last few weeks onto the field."