From his kitchen window on the first day of 2006, John Higginson saw destruction approaching.
"It was three minutes past 1pm, I'll never forget that. I looked out the kitchen window and I said to my wife, 'is that dust or is that smoke'? Pretty soon we realised it was smoke," said the farmer from Old Junee.
The Jail Brake Inn fire raged around the town and its surrounds between January 1 and 6, 2006. It burnt up to 25,200 hectares by the time it was subdued.
Now, 15 years on the scars have healed from the land, but the memories remain.
As Mr Higginson recalls it, the fire came quickly along the Mad Mile until it reached his property.
He estimates he lost 75 per cent of his land to it, along with 200 lambs, his woolshed and fences.
His homestead, known as Woodville on Aerodrome Lane was almost taken by the fire, except for the quick thinking of a firefighter who jumped onto the roof to put out the fire as it grew in the gutters.
"It travelled east then it took off because there was a lot of fuel around. It had been a good harvest year, but fortunately, the harvest was over by then," Mr Higginson said.
"It headed towards town and they [firefighters] had to seriously start re-evaluating how they would defend Junee."
The fire started near the Jail Brake Inn on the Olympic Highway. Within minutes, it had reached Mr Higginson's property before it jumped the railway line and was threatening the township.
By the end of its terror, one firefighter remained in critical condition in hospital after he was badly burned. Overall, seven homes were destroyed and up to 20,000 head of stock were killed.
On the other side of town on January 1, Neil Smith remembers watching the afternoon sun disappear behind the billowing black plumes of smoke.
"We had visitors staying with us and we were sitting down to lunch with them and some friends," Mr Smith said.
"It got quite dark like the sun disappeared. We stood out on the veranda looking west and you could see the fire coming over the hill."
The afternoon festivities abandoned, Mr Smith and his guests began packing up the car and preparing for the worst.
"We had a birds-eye view of the town where we were, we were watching it come towards the house," he said.
"We had hoses on each side of the house, but thankfully, the fire went around us."
After tearing through Junee, the fire moved on to Wantiool where Brian Beasley was not so fortunate.
He watched his woodshed be destroyed in minutes flat while he sheltered behind an old cottage wall.
"If we weren't [at the house] we would have lost everything," Mr Beasley said.
"It looked like it wasn't coming towards us, then the winds changed. Luckily I was dressed in thick clothing, I had my welding gloves on to shield my face."
Even after the fire had passed, Mr Beasley and his wife, Heather spent the next three hours putting out spot fires and assessing the damage around their property.
"It certainly moved through quickly. Luckily we didn't have much stock, we had a goat and a horse that both went up the hill but the fire got them, that was quite sad," he said.
In the aftermath of the fire, Mr Smith wrote a poem that was later auctioned to raise money to rebuild the town.
"I wrote it just to get my feelings out, then I thought we could print it and sell it to make money. The mayor at the time, Lola Cummins, started an appeal to help," he said.
It took two years for Mr Higginson to rebuild what he lost. Mr Beasley on the other hand decided not to restore the old cottage he lost.
But even as the town was torn asunder by flames, all three men agree the community came together to rebuild it.
"I was so pleased to have been sharing that with the community rather than being away on holidays on the coast," Mr Smith said.
"If I'd been hearing about it later, it would not be the same. There was nowhere else I'd rather be than there in the community at that moment."