After watching bushfires roar too close to their NSW south coast town on New Year's Eve, Anthony Ellis and his family won't risk it again.
They have evacuated Surf Beach, near Batemans Bay, after taking refuge on a beach as the Clyde Mountain blaze came too close for comfort on New Year's Eve.
Mr Ellis was hosing down his house after the family decided to stay and defend their property, when the sky suddenly turned really dark.
"The smoke behind us just changed," he told AAP in Batemans Bay on Friday.
"It was just solid walls of darkness."
Together with partner Janelle, the couple took their three dogs and three children, threw everything in the car and drove to the beach.
They sat on the beach for at least five hours as the Clyde Mountain blaze, which has burnt nearly 70,000 hectares, roared through nearby towns.
"You couldn't even risk it to move through the suburb to check on other people," Mr Ellis said.
They made the decision on Thursday to evacuate, together with his mother Nancy White.
"We decided we're not going to risk it twice in one week," he said.
The family have evacuated to the Hanging Rock Sports Club in Batemans Bay along with hundreds of others.
Ms White said no one on Tuesday realised how bad it was going to get.
"It got really frightening.
"That's why we're here now, it was so frightening we thought we are not going to stay and defend."
Ms White said the family has been without communications since Tuesday which left their relatives "frantic".
"We still have our homes but we've reconciled with the fact we may not tomorrow," she added.
Nearby in Batehaven, Ray Evans and his family also decided to evacuate ahead of forecast dangerous conditions on Saturday.
Mr Evans said there were six adults and three children at his house when "day turned to night" as the New Year's Eve blaze burnt nearby.
"When that southerly came the fire seemed to turn back on itself," he said.
"Day turned into night.
"After that we decided if we go, we go together."
The family arrived at the Hanging Rock Sports Club evacuation centre on Friday afternoon.
Mr Evans said he's concerned as no one knows how the fire will behave on Saturday.
Australian Associated Press