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‘Just worried about getting away from the fire’: Mallacoota’s boat boy speaks out

Finn told Nine News the flames that surrounded the small East Gippsland town were “pretty scary”, but his family had enacted their escape plan successfully.

“When we left it just went pitch black and it was really, really windy,” he said.

“We were just worried about getting away from the fire and just being safe, and our house.

“We had our plan and we just used it … it worked.”

Finn said he knew how dangerous bushfires could be before flames reached Mallacoota because both his parents were firefighters.

Many locals and holidaymakers in Mallacoota took shelter in the water where the Wallagaraugh River meets the ocean, while others sailed boats away from the land.

Finn Burns, 11, was captured in a photo piloting a boat in Mallacoota as the sky went red. The photo has now gone viral.

Finn Burns, 11, was captured in a photo piloting a boat in Mallacoota as the sky went red. The photo has now gone viral.Credit:Nine News

The coastal East Gippsland town has a population of just over 1000, but this swells by many more thousands in the summer as tourists descend.

Locals told The Age on Wednesday morning that they estimated at least 60 properties had been lost in the inferno.

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Finn was able to return to his undamaged home on Tuesday night after the immediate fire danger had passed.

When it comes to the striking photo – taken by his mother Allison – Finn is nonplussed about his newfound fame.

“I’m not really fussed, it’s just a photo,” he said.

With Anthony Colangelo

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