As a blaze tore through from the Orroral Valley, troops were ready to evacuate my 88-year-old father from his nursing home. It was the first place that would be hit if Canberra’s suburbs were overrun.

Flames were visible from the windows of the nursing home and as darkness fell, Mt Tennent’s menacing glow loomed overhead.

As the fire front bore down, army personnel were poised with military vehicles to extract scores of the frightened, immobile elderly.

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