A family displaced by the Tasman bush fire is camping out looking over their flock of smoke-affected sheep sheltering at an emergency animal refuge centre.

The Koldau family fled their Pigeon Valley 10-acre lifestyle block just hours after the massive blaze was sparked nearby seven days ago.

It took them another four days to rescue their flock of 19 sheep.

When they got to them, some were suffering the effects of the fire's thick smoke.


The Koldaus managed to get them out and they've been recovering at Richmond A&P Showgrounds – along with hundreds of other evacuated animals.

But the Koldaus – who have given names to all of their sheep – wanted to keep a close watch on them, so they have pitched a tent and are camping out beside their animals. One of them is staying overnight in the tent to make sure they're okay.

The sheep are kept inside an electric fence, sheltering under the shade of some showground trees and chomping on hay and willow branches donated by the public.

"They look like they've been quite badly smoked," Vanessa said.

"They're pretty filthy looking and there's a few runny noses but for the most part they seem to be doing okay."

The Koldaus are thankful for the public support and offers of feed they've received.
While there's talk of the cordons around the valleys being lifted later today, they won't be rushing back. It's a lot of work shifting the sheep, and they want to be sure the fire's gone.

"But once we can safely go home, we sure will want to get there," Vanessa said.

The first thing she wants to do is rescue her gardens and fruit trees with a good watering.
And then she might be able to relax.


"There's nothing like being at home to be able to relax," she said.

"It probably won't catch up with us until we get home, just how exhausting and stressful the whole process has been."