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Holmes family escapes Australia fires clinging to jetty (VIDEO)

The Holmes family narrowly escaped the fires in Tasmania by clinging to a boat jetty for more than three hours.

Holmes family tasmania fires 2013 01 09Enlarge
Tammy Holmes and her grandchildren cling to a boat jetty to escape the flames of a wildfire in Tasmania. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation/Screengrab)

"Tornadoes of fire" swirling around them, the Holmes family jumped into the water and clung to a boat jetty for three hours to escape the wildfires raging across Tasmania.

Tim and Tammy Holmes were looking after Bonnie Walker's five young children while she attended a funeral late last week.

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Fire quickly engulfed the town of Dunalley, and Tim Holmes ordered his wife and the children to take shelter under the wooden jetty on their property, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

He texted a picture of the family to his daughter, telling her they were "surrounded by fire."

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"It's still quite an upsetting image," Walker told ABC. "It's of all of my five children underneath the jetty, huddled up to neck deep sea water, which is cold. I knew that that would be a challenge to keep three non-swimmers above water and with only my mom, dad and our eldest daughter."

Eventually, Tim Holmes found a small dinghy and took the family further offshore, The Telegraph reported.

"We saw tornadoes of fire just coming across to us," he said.

The escape occurred as Australia's record-breaking heatwave has sent temperatures soaring, melting road tar and setting off hundreds of wildfires -- even sparking a new color for weather maps.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/130109/family-escaped-australia-fires-clinging-jetty-video