It’s 4pm on Monday and the serenity in Gordon Avenue, one of the backstreets of the NSW Blue Mountains village of Blackheath, is disturbed by the grim warnings of “catastrophic” fire conditions.
It’s the dreaded bushfire season and the dozens of beautiful and modern timber cottages will soon be a ghost street.
Residents are packing bags of their most precious belongings.
“Sorry it’s not a good time to talk,” one frantic resident, who didn’t want to give her name, tells AAP.
The boot of her car will be packed soon and she is sad and worried to go.
A few houses up the road, Ian in his 30s is concerned after residents were told to leave their street.
“We will be out of here later today,” he says outside his home backing onto the Blue Mountains National Park.
All local schools will be closed on Tuesday, with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian declaring a state of emergency ahead of catastrophic fire conditions in Greater Sydney, the Hunter, Illawarra and Shoalhaven.
Lucy, 45, is home by herself while her husband is on work travel.
She has removed the dry leaves around the front yard, and the boat is now hitched to the 4WD ready to go.
Her three children have been told to pack their bags now: Tiannah, who goes to Mountains Christian College; and Linden and Coulson, who both attend Blackheath Primary School.
“You can never be too prepared for a bushfire,” she says.
“I am hearing it’s the perfect storm for a fire to break out, so we have to stay alert, and don’t panic much.”
They are heading to Blackheath Area Neighbourhood Community Centre for refuge.
Rob Hume, the owner of Mitre 10, says he will open business on Tuesday.
“We will see how it goes,” Mr Hume says.
“I am confident it will be alright and I haven’t packed-up until I hear further warning.”