The road to Egans Farm in Runnyford looks like it was hit by a nuclear bomb. Everywhere the ground is blackened, trees stripped of every leaf. Even the swamp has burned.
Fluttering defiantly above a standing farmhouse is an Australian flag. Beneath it, in a shed, are Caroline and Guy McPhee sharing a cup of tea with some neighbours who've dropped in to check on them.
The McPhees have been without power since New Year's Eve, when the Clyde Mountain Fire flared up and bore down on their farm on Egans Road.
"At about a quarter to two in the morning we got a text message from a fellow down the road, and he said to me, 'Can someone go and get our neighbour Jack from the down the road? He's not answering his phone. You need to get him out of bed, the fire's at my door now'," Guy recalls.
He woke Caroline, jumped in the car, found Jack wandering out the front of his home, and returned to protect the farm.
"We started running fire hoses out, filling the gutters up, raced up here and wet down the hay shed, pulled out what machines we could.
"Then Caroline rings me and says, 'Where are you? The fire's at the back door.'"
The hay shed, now completely destroyed along with the family car, tractors and other machinery, is 200 metres from the house.
Yet during the firestorm, Guy had trouble finding his way back to it, the smoke was so thick.
He had to feel his way back in pitch darkness by reaching out to the barbed wire fence he knew led to the house.
"I had a moment of pure panic when I rang Guy and said 'I need you here now,' because I knew I couldn't fight that on my own," says Caroline. "I had two kids in the house, one who's 16 and was out there ready on the pump, and the 13-year-old who was inside the house with the dogs keeping everyone calm.'
"We just defended the house from there," says Guy. "We fought the fire until daybreak. About halfway through the fire, Caroline hosed me down and we went and opened all the gates for the cattle."
The couple believe that decision saved the 32-strong herd. Before the fire they'd read the best place for cattle was in paddocks which had been eaten back. The opposite held true, however. The paddocks with the least grass burned the fiercest.
"They huddled around the gates and the fire seemed to go over the top of them," Caroline says.
While they were lucky their only stock losses were chickens, they lost much of the history the farm held including the old schoolhouse and cheese factory.
"We lost all the old buildings that were built over a hundred years ago. They just burnt one after the other. It was a sea of flames everywhere," says Guy.
They got hit again when the southerly arrived and flames were threatening the front of the house.
"I don't think we finished until about 8pm. We were exhausted. It was a full, full day."
No help came when neighbours called Triple-0 but in Guy's reckoning that was probably a good thing.
"If the RFS came they wouldn't have got out."
Despite the terror, Caroline says they made the right decision to stay and defend.
"If we hadn't stood between the fire and the house we would have lost everything. There was fire burning under the house."
The McPhees have been on Egans Farm for two years, having moved from their last property at Meringo. For the past 18 months, Guy has been busy putting in new fences and yards, all of which have been lost.
They will stay and rebuild but there are moments, they say, when it all catches with up them.
Luckily, they have each other, so when one is feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of it all, the other is there to perk them back up again.