Iconic Photo Emerges as Aussie Fires Rage

Flames approach military bomb range

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 10, 2013 4:13 AM CST

(Newser) – As wildfires tear through southeastern Australia, one family survived a near-death experience—and snapped photos in the process. Tim and Tammy Holmes were babysitting five grandkids when flames conquered their Tasmanian town, forcing them to take refuge under a jetty. Tim caught a stunning image of Tammy holding two grandchildren, ages two and four, while three others, none older than 11, held on nearby, the Guardian reports. Three of the kids couldn't swim.

"We saw tornadoes of fire just coming across toward us and the next thing we knew everything was on fire," Tim told the Australian ABC News. At the jetty, "there was only about probably 200 to 300 millimeters of air above the water. So we were all just heads, water up to our chins, just trying to breathe." Meanwhile, flames are drawing near a former military bombing range, where plenty of unexploded bombs remain, the BBC reports. Firefighters believe they'll be able to stop the blaze before it hits the area. Monday was Australia's hottest day ever, at a national average of 104.59 degrees, the Guardian adds. The country is now so hot its weather map can't keep up.

In this Jan. 4, 2013 photo, a building burns near a jetty where Tim and Tammy Holmes attempt to shelter their five grandchildren.   (AP Photo/Holmes Family, Tim Holmes)
In this Jan. 4, 2013, photo, Tammy Holmes and her grandchildren take refuge under a jetty as a wildfire rages nearby in the Tasmanian town of Dunalley, east of the state capital of Hobart, Australia.   (AP Photo/Holmes Family, Tim Holmes)
In this Jan. 4, 2013 photo, Tammy Holmes and her grandchildren take refuge under a jetty as a wildfire rages nearby in the Tasmanian town of Dunalley.   (AP Photo/Holmes Family, Tim Holmes)
In this aerial photo, plumes of smoke rise from a fire near Sussex Inlet, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013.   (AP Photo/NSW Rural Fire Service)
This photo, taken from the International Space Station Tuesday Jan. 8, 2013, shows a view of the wildfire near Burrinjuck Dam in Australia. Look closely and you can see the flames from orbit.   (AP Photo/NASA, Chris Hadfield)
A wildfire near Deans Gap, Australia, crosses the Princes Highway Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013.   (AP Photo/NSW Rural Fire Service, James Morris)
John O'Reilly takes a dip in the cooling water of a fountain in central Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013.   (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Plumes of smoke rise from a fire near Cooma, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013.   (AP Photo/New South Wales Rural Fire Service)
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