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At four o'clock in the afternoon panic hit.
Lake Cathie mum of three Jacinta could see big black smoke and hear loud crackling outside.
"It was terrifying," she said.
"It felt like we were in a movie."
The family who live opposite the footy oval made a split decision, mum and kids would leave, dad would stay and defend.
So Jacinta packed the car and headed for Dunbogan not knowing what would happen.
She was able to return later that night but even the next day (October 30) she is shaken.
"It is very eerie at the moment in Lake Cathie," she said.
"I know we are not out of the woods yet."
It is a feeling Lisa Willows knows too well.
She lives on a 25 acre property on the edge of the lake.
When Ms Willows received the message from the RFS to evacuate she thought she was prepared.
But nothing, she learned, really prepares you for a bushfire.
"The whole place looked like Armageddon last night, when it is dark you can see all the fires," she said.
"It was a really surreal feeling.
"It felt like nothing in your life mattered.
"We had all the hoses going, we were clearing any remaining leaves.
"We made a camp at the top of Kenwood Drive for a couple of hours," she said.
There are still fires burning at the bottom of her property.
"It is terrifying," she said.
"We have never been in this situation but I think the drought and the lake (situation) doesn't help."