This is what Jessica wrote about her experience on Black Saturday:
Saturday 7th of February 2009...............
It was the worst day of my life. It was a really hot and windy day.
They were worried. They got up early and were racking grass and leaves. Later after lunch we could see the smoke over Kilmore way and the wind started bringing in burnt tree leaves, branches and other bits. We could also see a fire out our front window at Gruyere and a fire that started at Yarra Glen. This is when mum and dad told us to say inside and don't come out. They were starting to wet down the house and trying to protect the house as much as they could. We saw where it started and how fast it went, it was roaring.
When the wind changed I heard dad say to mum “chum creek is going up in flames”. I ran to my room crying. Logan and Amy live in chum and I got really scared for them. It was hard, Mum kept calling Irene's mobile and leaving messages but we couldn't find them.
After the wind changed mum and dad weren't running around as much and we were allowed to come outside. We sat and watched the hills on fire and I could see houses blowing up which was really sad. Then later we saw Toolangi going up as well. Tara lives there and I was worried sick about my friends.
At night the hills were a red glow, it was like a big light shining and it was scary. All day the sky was orange even at night. Mum and dad took it in turns to stay up and watch the fire so that we could go to bed. I remember mum telling me that it was really late and she rang the red cross to see if Amy's family have registered and safe. We didn't hear from them until the next day. I was very happy they were all ok but when I found out they lost their house and animals I was devastated.
On the Sunday night dad was worried if the wind changed and told up to go stay at Nan's in Pakenham he stayed to protect the house in case of an ember attack. I was crying all night dad was home and far away. I wanted my family close even my dogs.
Monday morning we came home. I couldn't wait to get back to school to make sure my friends were all okay. I was so happy to find out they were safe.
When Mt Riddle start on fire dad told us to go and stay at my Nan's house again. We stayed for 2 nights because the schools were closed. I remember being scared to go back home but also happy because I could go to school and be with my friends.
Those weeks were really hard and I will never forget it. It's hard to erase that memory of mum and dad yelling “stay inside” and see the flames at chum.
Now after the fires the hills are black and when the sun shines on the hill you can see the stick of the burnt trees.
That's my story.'