An 11-year-old woke to her mother's urgent voice at 2.45am on New Year's Eve, donned her late grandfather's cotton shirt ... and stepped up.
Ivy Innes knew the drill: put on jeans, boots, bandanna, hat; wrap herself in a wet blanket and shelter in a corner of the verandah.
The Batemans Bay Public School student hosed spot fires and kept walls and roofs wet so her mother - Eurobodalla Shire Mayor Liz Innes - could extinguish grass fires at their historic Runnyford home.
"I said, 'Babe, you have to get up and enact your fire plan'," Cr Innes said.
"She did. The guys went up to try and save the shed. I said, 'you have to get out now and start hosing off and helping me'. She did, for a good solid two or three hours with me; putting out little fires.
"She kept that whole shed, the back kitchen, wet so I could put the grass out. I could leave her and keep patrolling while she was doing her bit."
The preceding days were fraught for many rural families watching the Currowan Fire become the Clyde Mountain Fire, jump the Kings Highway and threaten to join the Deua River blaze.
The Duea fire began north of Moruya on Boxing Day. The next day Cr Innes, shire infrastructure director Warren Sharpe and Bega MP Andrew Constance held a press conference to warn the Kings Highway was closed for at least a month and tourists still in town would need fire plans.
"Mum wanted me to stay with Grandma," Ivy said. "I stayed there for about three days."
Then the family re-calibrated, weighing up the risk of remaining at their Buckenbowra River farm, north-west of Mogo.
"Mum said, 'if anything is going to happen it is safer here; we are prepared'," Ivy said.
It was an agonising choice for her parents.
""There was weeks of, where is safe? Do we take her into town? Does she stay here?," Cr Innes said.
Like most remote residents, they understood they could hope for, but not expect, help.
"There would (most likely) be no-one," Cr Innes said. "Once we made that decision to stay, we would not be able to get out. I had taken her in and out to Mum's. A couple of days beforehand, I said, "Where's safe? Nowhere.
"We had done the prep, we had the river, I would rather her be here with me, than somewhere where I was just freaking out."
Years after her father, Merv, had died, Cr Innes found herself turning to him on her youngest daughter's behalf.
"The day before (the fire), I said 'you need to get good jeans, boots, a cotton shirt, a bandana and a hat'," she said.
"She said 'Mum, I have not got a cotton shirt'. My father has been deceased for many years, but the one shirt I kept of his, I got for her. She saw me get emotional. She said, 'Mum, I can't wear that'.
"I said, 'I need you to wear that. I need you to have that protection. I need to know you will be fine ... if you have that shirt'."
That day, visitors proved willing hands and a welcome distraction for a youngster on a stressful school holiday.
"We do not often have visitors," Ivy said. "We had a nice dinner and they tried to teach me a new card game. At first, I did not think anything would happen. I felt safe because of what Mum was doing and how everyone was set up."
Into the early hours of New Year's Eve, everyone was on edge and Ivy was wide awake, drawing. She finally fell asleep, but then a family friend, Scott Morris, camping nearby, rushed to warn them fire was coming.
"You could see burning trees," Ivy said.
"I got my clothes on. I got my art bag, my iPad. I did everything I was told to. Everything was black, there was ash, bright light, you could smell it.
"As soon as it got more quiet, I came out of the blanket (and) hosed down the houses."
Cr Innes said the internet died at about 7.30pm the night before: "That must have been when Wandera (communications tower) went down." The Rural Fire Service has told a court the destruction of that tower prevented timely warnings to many people.
"I rang Warren Sharpe at 2.45am and said, 'Mate, this is going to hit us now, get those warnings out and get people out of their beds'," Cr Innes said. "I was thinking we would have mass casualties, people dying in their beds."
She warned neighbours and people in town, including eldest daughter, Lilli.
"I was staying at a mate's and got a phone call from Mum," Lilli said.
"The message was, 'if anything happens to us, know we love you'. It was a shock."
She could hear the fire on the phone and tried to warn friends: "They were like, 'it is not going to come into town'; (Mum) is saying, 'it is coming into town, get ready, please!' At 4am I was trying to communicate with her, but we could only get tiny bits."
Then came the message: "It is coming." It was "going to Mogo now".
In Surf Beach, Lilli saw ash fall from the sky and "the smell of burned animal was intense". The young people she was with lacked a hose or even information: "These kids were on their own. They don't have TV, they don't listen to the radio, they barely go on Facebook, they are out of the loop. Even though they lived dead set in town, they had no idea."
Lilli spurred them: "Guys, get your dogs, cats, everything. We were trying to get three cats in the car with a dog. I had a cat running across my face, I am bleeding, my friend is (saying sorry) and I say 'I don't care, let's get to the evacuation centre'."
From Corrigans Beach, Lilli walked towards town to check on her grandmother. She was able to briefly speak to her mum and reported parts of Batemans Bay on fire and spot fires near the evacuation centre.
"That was harder, nearly, than what we had been through," Cr Innes said. "I am listening to my baby out in that (and) I could not do anything."
"It was hot, smoky, the sirens were constant, then 'boom!', there were fires on the golf course," Lilli said. "I was walking against this thing." When the sky went black she sheltered in a friend's car, not knowing "what to do" or if her family was safe.
"I could not talk to them until the next day at about 3pm," Lilli said. "Mum said, 'meet me at the evacuation centre, that is where I need to be now'." Her father and others chainsawed their way up Runnyford Road, blocked by burning trees. "Dad said it took seven hours to get to the highway," Lilli said. "Normally it takes half an hour."
Power tools are great for road clearing; emotional recovery requires a more gentle touch. Returning to her childhood home, "seeing nature, seeing the landscape", was raw for Lilli: "I have watched it my whole life; I know every inch of it."
Ivy said she feared for her sister, "very much so". "But the funny thing is, I knew Grandma and Lilli were going to be okay, because I know them. Grandma had someone and I knew Lilli would be running around telling everyone to be prepared," she said.
"My best friend, Phoebe, I was worried about (in Catalina)."
In a considered, practical fashion belying her years, Ivy weighed up the chances of pets, farm and bush creatures.
"I knew my smaller more feral cat would hide under the house - probably one of the safest places; my cat was in my room - if we were fine, he would be fine; my dogs, I had in the hallway," she said.
"The horses would be fine if Mum had done everything right. The pigs are a bit more feral. The goats would be safe, we had let them out. They would be in the open paddock with the horses.
"The thing I was worried about was the wildlife."
In those intense hours, family and friends saved the historic cottages, but not a large shed on the hill and its irreplaceable memorabilia. They lost a tractor, equipment and cars.
At dawn, Cr Innes was still trying to warn town dwellers: "I rang my girlfriend and said, 'Babe, what are you doing? Get out now'. She did not have the capacity to face it."
On January 4, Andrea Cantle interviewed Cr Innes for Australian Community Media, but the call was cut short as fire again approached. This time the defence was down to Ivy and her mum.
"Mum said, 'hey, wake up, we might have to fight fires again'," Ivy said.
Ivy said she was not scared for round two: "I did not really realise what was happening when it first hit us. The second time I was calm."
She got changed, "had a cup of tea" and watched "for spot fires and falling embers".
"There was large tree on fire in the paddock," she said. "It was out of control." In a bizarre sideshow, panicked wasps threatened on the verandah.
Cr Innes said January 4 was "in some senses scarier" as the hot south-westerly picked up: "That sense of unknown ... is it going to come back at us? Do we have to go through this again? It was awful."
She mounted guard in the car up on the hill, ready to race back: "That was all we could do. We had everything set up, but not a lot of water left."
Later, spared once again, they knew exactly how to celebrate: "When things did not turn to hell again, we got down in the river and had a swim."
Ivy has keenly watched life returning to her valley: "It is really amazing seeing all the trees fluffy and I love seeing how all the birds and animals have come out."
The old timers said, 'you have forgotten it runs from the mountains to the coast and you can't stop it'Liz Innes
Cr Innes thinks her "little trooper" downplayed her own efforts: "She is nonchalant, but what she went through is next level. She has this calm strength."
Ivy has her own take: "At my age, big things like this, I don't think anyone knows what they should be feeling. I was unsure if I should be stressed, worried or calm and collected and know what I have to do. I am quite calm now, because everything is over, everything is fine, at least for us."
Still, her mother worries: "I think, 'really? It is pretty intense what you have been through'," Cr Innes said.
Cr Innes says the fallout from the fires will be "inter-generational". Just like the fire of 1952, "they will be recounting this to their grand kids".
She said remote residents all heard stories of unstoppable fires: "The old timers said, 'you have forgotten it runs from the mountains to the coast and you can't stop it'. I have been told this for years. I have ridden through all that country, I have seen the (fuel) loads building up."
Cr Innes is astounded more lives were not lost: "I spoke to someone who said it hit at 6am and they had no idea it was coming. Where is the personal responsibility to be informed, to understand the danger, to make sure your house (was prepared)? That gobsmacked me. How much more communication could we put out? Did we have to knock on every single door?"
In the crisis, no-one knew much of what was happening to others, from one end of the shire to another, as telecommunications failed and roads were impassable.
"The worst thing was not being able to communicate," Cr Innes said.
Whenever the sky went black, she knew someone, somewhere, was in trouble: "Moruya was coming under attack. You could see this black out there. No one could call me, I could not call anyone. Is what happened to us in the Bay now happening in Moruya?"
Some commentary upset her: "The thing that really got me was people on social media saying 'where's our mayor? Why is she not here?' I had to dump my child the next day and go into that evacuation centre and work non-stop for five or six days. This is meant to be my time with my beautiful daughter. I had to leave her with my mum and she was angry with me. That was her way of saying 'where the hell have you been?'. I did not have that luxury; I had to step up."
Lilli felt it too: "Mum is always so busy, I cannot always call her up and say 'what is happening?'"
That went to the next level in the fires. In the weeks and months that followed, Cr Innes was still fielding "messages from people in desperate situations".