Woman trapped on roof in bushfire after dog knocks over ladder

As Jo Vakaahi stood on her roof with a hose as a ferocious bushfire barrelled towards her home, her frightened dog accidentally knocked the ladder over, leaving her trapped.

NSW battled unprecedented bushfires on Saturday, which claimed the lives of three people, and destroyed more than 150 properties.

An emergency warning was in place on Saturday for the Hillville bushfire south of Taree, which threatened a number of towns including Old Bar, Wallabi Point and South Taree.

As people evacuated from Old Bar on Friday night, Ms Vakaahi stayed to defend her home.

A woman's frightened dog accidentally knocked over a ladder, trapping her on the roof as a a bushfire headed straight towards hr house. Source: AAP.

"On Friday night I went out the back to let my dog out and there was this glow of fires coming, I just hosed down the house," she told AAP on Sunday.

"I must have dozed off on the lounge and I woke up on Saturday morning and it was right there."

With the savage bushfire just 500 metres away, Ms Vakaahi said she climbed up onto the roof with a hose and a wet tea towel wrapped around her head, in a desperate bid to do what she could to save her home.

"The smoke was just debilitating, really thick and black and it was hard to breathe," she said.

"It's all still and eerie, there's no birds around ... I was really scared."

It was in that moment that Ms Vakaahi's dog, in an attempt to be close to her, knocked down the ladder, leaving her stuck on the roof and faced with the possibility of having to jump down, which could have left her injured and unable to flee as the fire bore down.

Fortunately, neighbours came to her rescue. After an anxious night the fire was downgraded to a watch and act alert.

"It's the tiredness that gets you, you want to sleep but you can't relax because you don't know what's going to happen," Ms Vakaahi said.

A firefighter on property protection watches the progress of bushfires in Old Bar, NSW, Saturday, November 9, 2019. Source: AAP.

At Wallabi Point, where at least one home was destroyed, school teacher Colette Eadndel spent Saturday night listening to the emergency services scanner feed.

She is concerned about how exhausted, ageing firefighters doing 16-hour shifts would continue to battle fires on the densely forested Mid North Coast over coming days.

"It was just so heartbreaking how tired they were," she told AAP.

"We need young fit people fighting this with equipment.

"We really really need the air force and army to come because, truly, a lot of people will die.

"The Commonwealth can't sit like they have with drought relief. Those people need to come up here now."

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