After being battered by fire, floods, drought and landslides, the tourist village of Halls Gap came close to being in the firing line yet again.
The town was saved by a wind change as a bushfire that scorched 51,000ha of Victoria's Grampians National Park, destroying homes and claiming one life, raged just two kilometres away.
Halls Gap's 600-plus population in the heart of the national park was evacuated Friday afternoon.
Paul Antonio, from the Brambuk Backpackers and Aboriginal cultural centre, left about 2pm (AEDT) as an orange glow hovered over the mountains.
"It got very dark and very still, hauntingly still," he told AAP.
"There was ash and that falling around the place.
"It was just a ghost town with parks people driving tankers around and a couple of CFA people, that was it."
About 30 people were evacuated from the backpackers and two tourist buses on the way were cancelled.
"They got everyone out fairly early," Mr Antonio said.
"At this stage no one's allowed back into the Gap until further notice.
"But it sounds like later on today more residents will hopefully be able to go back in, not tourists though."
Mr Antonio feared the 51,000-hectare blaze would hit Halls Gap, before a wind change spared it.
"The fire only got to about two kilometres from the town," he said.
"There's my livelihood and a lot of other staff's livelihood, so it was a bit of a worry.
"But we got through it again."
It was a relief for the town, which has been ravaged by 2006 fires, as well as floods, droughts and landslides.
"We get it all," Mr Antonio said.
"We still can't celebrate because the mountain range is devastated again.
"I think they were spending flood funding up to this point, so now they'll have to get some funding for fire damage I suppose.
"It's been a pretty tough time."