By Andru McCracken

Valemount residents Sam Lafferma and his partner, Australian-born Nicole Breed, and their daughter Matilda are safe in Chipping Norton, a suburb of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia as the fires rage on around the countryside.

Lafferma works for a helicopter firm doing aircraft maintenance. Breed confirmed that Lafferma was busy servicing aircraft being used to fight fires.

Lafferma and Breed like to keep a low profile, but consented to give an update.

On Saturday January 11th, conditions weren’t ideal in Sydney. The day before, the local station told residents to prepare for a ‘Horror Weekend.”

The weekend didn’t start well.

“We have had a lot of hot days followed by strong weather changes which have led to really erratic fire conditions,” said Breed, who is currently a stay-at-home mom with daughter Matilda. “For example, yesterday was around 42°C then a southerly change (cool, strong wind) came through overnight and early morning which has created a new grass fire that is currently threatening or burning houses.”

“It’s only just turned 8am.”

Breed said New South Wales has never lost so many houses due to bushfires.

“I believe the national total is over 2,000 destroyed now, which doesn’t include outbuildings and also doesn’t include houses that were just damaged but not destroyed.”