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Rick Stein forced out in flames threat to Oz restaurant

RICK STEIN has told how he had to evacuate his restaurant as an out-of-control bush fire barrelled towards it.

The celebrity chef and TV presenter (pictured), who also has a home across the bay from the coastal town of Lake Conjola, in New South Wales, said he and stunned diners watched in horror as the resort ‘went up in smoke’.

‘We were told to leave because the way the wind was blowing, it could have quite easily have come right up here,’ he said.

‘At one stage, when I left the house, I thought I would never see it again.’

Stein relived the New Year’s Eve drama as efforts continued to help those trapped by wildfires that have so far claimed 25 lives.

In Hastings, Victoria, firefighters and evacuees rescued by the Australian Navy from the cut-off coastal town of Mallacoota were brought ashore on landing craft. Meanwhile, NSW was facing a new threat — fires sparked by lightning strikes.