Tim Holmes and his wife were taking care of their grandchildren on Friday when the area surrounding their home in the Australian town of Dunalley in Tasmania caught fire.
"We saw tornadoes of fire just coming across towards us and the next thing we knew everything was on fire, everywhere, all around us," Holmes said.
"I made sure my wife and the children got down to the jetty because there was no other escape," he added.
Three houses owned by the family burned to the ground.
Meanwhile Tim Holmes' daughter, Bonnie Walker, who had left her children in the care of her parents while she attended a funeral, received a text message saying that her parents had to evacuate the house.
"A few minutes later an image arrived, which was really, it's still quite an upsetting image, it's of all of my five children underneath the jetty, huddled up to neck-deep sea water, which is cold, we'd swam the day before and it was cold, " Bonnie Walker said.
The fire, which was surrounding Tim Holmes and his family, continued to rage for three hours.
When the inferno subsided, Tim Holmes managed to get his dinghy off the foreshore. He loaded his wife Tammy Holmes and their five grandchildren in the boat and dragged it into a headwind and got them to safety.