New Year's Eve was a scary time for Nicky Bath, like it was for many living in bushfire effected communities.
But while she worried as her husband and eldest son tried to save their Catalina property backing onto the Mogo State Forest near Batemans Bay, Mrs Bath also felt grateful to be in a position to help.
And that's exactly what the University of Wollongong administrative officer did as she opened the university's Batemans Bay campus to some 300 people.
"When it became apparent that the fire was progressing to us rapidly and we knew we would come under risk that day from what we thought ember attack, my son Sam and I headed to the campus," Mrs Bath said.
"I had the keys and thought the office was a safe place as it was right next door to the evacuation centre.
"When we arrived there at about 6.30-7 in the morning, there were a few other students there seeking refuge."
Before too long things "turned nasty quite quickly" and people were arriving at the campus "quite panicked".
'As people started arriving there was hot smoky winds outside so my son and I just started letting people into the front foyer of the building, which is a shared facility with the library and TAFE," she said.
"If it had been my house, I would have done the same thing. It was desperate, it was scary and windy and smokey and you didn't have time to say to someone 'no please go across and register at the evacuation centre'.
"I'd say by the time that big orange cloud of smoke came across, we had about 300 people in the building.
"That was at its scariest. You would just let anyone in the door who was panicking outside basically.
"We just gave them a calm, safe space until it passed."
Some 100 people slept in the campus on December 31 and almost as many stayed the following night.
With dangerous fire conditions predicted for Saturday, January 4, Mrs Bath and her son assisted the evacuation centre and took in 80 residents from the local retirement village.
"In the other half of the building we had elderly people with respiratory problems, people with mobility issues, dogs, cats and a few families," Mrs Bath said.
"This was just so extreme. I was just grateful that I was in a situation where I had the knowledge and access to be able to open the building up and the support of the university to go ahead with that.
'I just feel privileged that I was in a position to help at that time because I was in the right place at the right time.
"I know people who came here felt safe. I just feel so happy to have been able to offer that help."
Mrs Bath's husband Steve and their 18-year-old son Tim also played a big part in saving all properties in their street.
Meantime, UOW re-opened its South Coast and Southern Highlands campuses on Thursday.
It is still offering assistance to local businesses, as the threat of bushfires eases and communities begin the task of recovery and rebuilding.
Having provided a place of refuge for hundreds of students, staff, local residents and visitors displaced by the fires, the Bega and Batemans Bay campuses have also been restored to their normal state and can resume operations.