It's fearfully hot when Kate Stathers pulls up at what remains of her 40-acre property tucked under the escarpment at Budgong.
She's on a mission to get food to her ducks and geese, which somehow survived Saturday's firestorm that consumed everything else, a miracle she discovered when she returned on Monday..
"I called out to them and they started honking back," she said.
"I couldn't believe it. They'd stayed in the dam when the fire went through."
Kate is staying at a relative's place in Greenwell Point. The Budgong house she's called home for 16 years is utterly destroyed, along with sheds and the original corrugated home that sat on the block.
Corpses of kangaroos and chickens litter the paddocks.
Kate is upbeat but her face betrays the shock and exhaustion of the past week.
When she saw a big plume of smoke approaching on Saturday and sensed the oxygen being sucked out of the air, she decided to leave.
"I drove out about 11.50am thinking everything would be fine. It was all clean here. I wet the house down - did everything I could do, it was wet, wet, wet."
All her animals except the ducks and geese had been evacuated.
"I came up with my cousin Jenny and we saw this," she says, pointing at the ruins of her brick home.
"We went, 'OK, I'm insured, that sort of thing.' We yelled, 'Hello' and the next minute the geese and ducks were yelling,'We're alive! Feed us!'"
While some badly burnt kangaroos had to be euthanised, the small mob Kate has watched over the years survived.
"I've been coming up every day, getting as many scraps as I can, just dumping grass clippings, food scraps with no meat in it, and just trying to maintain life out here."
Kate's positivity is as remarkable as the survival of the animals.
"I had breast cancer three and a half years ago and chemo and if you can get through that and you're alive, there's nothing else that can get in your way," she said.
"You have to be really positive. You have your crying moments."
She puts her calmness down to her training as a nurse. There's a sense she's triaged her situation and is working on immediate needs.
"We've got a crisis now but what are our strategies for the immediate and long term?"
She is adamant she will rebuild.
"I'm not going to leave Budgong. I think Budgong's the best place on earth. Yes, my horses will be coming back. Yes, my 53 chooks, who are out at Shoalhaven Heads with Wayne, the butcher from North Nowra, will come back.
"I will rebuild. This will be a beautiful place again."