It was a terrifying start to the new year as the region was enveloped in a haze of smoke as fires raged for weeks on end.
Months on, families and business owners in Tumbarumba are still piecing their lives back together, but with a smile and their best foot forward.
The blaze started initially near Oberne Creek, south of Tarcutta, when lightning struck days after Christmas.
In January, the fire joined with surrounding fronts becoming one of the largest infernos in the state.
In its almost two months of active alert, the fire destroyed more than 100 homes and public buildings, threatening towns including Batlow, Tumbarumba, Adelong and neighbouring areas around the Snowy Mountains.
But the resilience and the determination of these communities has stood out as they recover. The tight-knit family behind the 30-year-old business Johansen Wines got straight to work in rebuilding their livelihood.
Started by Heather and Robert Johansen, the Tumbarumba vineyards are run by the pair alongside their daughter and son-in-law Helle and Thomas Southwell.
When the Dunns Road fire hit their properties, they were impacted on multiple fronts.
"We lost all the vineyard infrastructure for our Mountain View Farm, and then our Glenburnie farm, which is our vineyard, that's only a kilometre down the road, we lost all those grapes to smoke," Mr Southwell said.
"So we have been working hard to rebuild."
The family of four got straight to work, and with the help of their very own community and wine lovers across Australia, they are starting to see their vineyards blossom.
"We've had incredible support from all across Australia and the world with people buying our wine and sponsoring vineyard posts, which is an initiative Helle came up with," Mr Southwell explained.
"In doing that, we've been able to afford the infrastructure that we need to put back in the ground.
"It's just been 10 months of really hard work between six or seven of us, and other family members and friends who've come to help out throughout the process."
The past few months have seen 4000 vineyard posts replaced, all of which had to be hammered in by hand.
"Then, of course, we run cattle and so we've had to re-fence and become stock-proof again," Mr Southwell said.
"That was probably priority one, the priority wasn't the vineyard, but just making sure that our livestock had water and feed and weren't wandering onto roads."
Mr Southwell said Tumbarumba had come together "brilliantly" in the wake of the ordeal. He added their spirit and resilience has shone through all the hardship.
"Our rebuild process hopefully will be finished by July of next year," Mr Southwell said.
"That will be once we've finished pruning here and then we'll be ready to start our next season, which will be vintage 2022. We are hoping to open the cellar door later next year, but we are waiting to see how we go."
While the rebuild is well underway for Johansen Wines, some are finding the process hampered by red tape.
It was a typical New Year's Eve period for Michael Pratt, as he worked shifts at the local bowling club as well as being a retained firefighter for Fire and Rescue NSW.
He remembers it being a warm night and the surrounding countryside was dry as a bone.
"All of a sudden, Dad got called to the Dunns Road fire, as they ended up calling it," he said.
"He gave us a call early that morning, New Year's Eve morning saying, 'Look, it's coming towards you. Get ready to go'.
"That was about 4am. So, we rushed around, as a family, getting ready and then, of course, I got the call to go into the fire brigade."
Mr Pratt headed out with crews to the fire that was creeping up onto the edge of town. When he left, it was the last time he would see his home intact.
"I went out, and was doing property protection," he said.
"We came back in to get more water at one stage and looked across, and the fire was already past my place burning along the fence line, going up the hill on the south side of our home.
"It was rough, but I think because everything was burning at that stage, it probably didn't hit me until later on. Thankfully, everyone got out."
While Mr Pratt was continuing to fight the blaze with his crew, his father, Ian, was trying to protect the rest of the family's property.
After hours of firefighting, surrounded by walls of flames and thick smoke Mr Pratt's father was taken to hospital for exhaustion.
"I kept going for the rest of that day," he said.
"Then the same sort of thing happened to me. I turned up at the start of day three, 7am, and I looked at the fire truck and said, 'I can't. I can't go anymore'.
"I went up to the hospital, and they just sat me down and gave me breakfast. I sat in bed for an hour and a half. I just needed some time."
After that, Mr Pratt and his family took some time and went and stayed with his sister in Canberra.
When they came back to Tumbarumba, it was almost like a ghost town, he said, as many people had yet to return home. There was no power, water or phones. Soon more residents returned to start their lives again.
For Mr Pratt and his family, that meant making phone call after phone call.
First to the bank, then Telstra, and then to the power companies. They stayed at the church rectory in town as the firefighting efforts continued in other parts of the region.
"We had a bag of clothes each," Mr Pratt said. "We had a family car, and thankfully, we grabbed the birth certificates and passports."
With their home destroyed, they needed to clear the land to make space for a temporary housing pod.
"Mum was born here, but it [the property] was out of the family for a little while, and then mum and dad repurchased it," Mr Pratt said.
"I lived in town for a little while, but then we moved and built out here. We've probably been here for the last 14 years.
"We want to get in and fix the place, but it has all been paperwork the last couple of months because I was only on a relatively low income, the Department of Human Services is helping out. But, it's all lots of paperwork."
While it has been a tough year for not just his family, but for a lot of the region, Mr Pratt said he is in awe of how the community backs each other when the going gets tough.
"You might get your little feuds here and there occasionally with people, but when things come right down to it, everyone chips in," he said.
Both Mr Pratt and Mr Southwell said the easiest way to support the town and region in its recovery is to come and visit.
"We've got incredible wines, amazing cafes, restaurants, pubs, clubs, breweries, a rail trail, incredible ciders," Mr Southwell said. "It's a region that has so much beauty. So come find us."