A LOCAL woman gave birth to twins as bush fires raged in her adopted home town in Australia.

Former jockey Heather McGee, 32, works for the country's biggest racing stables Lindsay Park, more than an hour's drive from Melbourne.

She lives with her fiance, horse trainer Ben Brisbourne, who is from Shropshire, in a small farm near Euroa, Victoria.

Heather, a veterinary nurse from Wemyss Bay, made a dash to the hospital in Wangaratta in the middle of the night and was fortunately out of harm's way as a fire broke out in her town.

She told the Telegraph: "I started feeling uncomfortable late last Friday night.

"At around 2.30am I was in quite a bit of pain and phoned the hospital and they said to come in straight away.

"We are about one hour from the hospital in Wangaratta, our only hospital closest that deals with multiple births."

She had to have morphine for pain relief and this delayed her labour, spending all of Saturday having mild contractions and getting frequent checks.

Her parents, who flew out after Christmas to be with their daughter, were at her home looking after the animals, including 30 chickens, guinea fowl, geese, three goats, four cats and two dogs.

Heather said it was a worry for her to go into labour just as the country's bush fire crisis escalated - and her mum and dad eventually had to be taken away for their own safety.

She said: "Saturday was declared our worst weather conditions, code red fire day with extremely dry and windy conditions.

"My parents were looking after the animals for us before planning to come to the hospital later.

"A bush fire broke out in Euroa that day, out of control and heading straight for the town.

"Over 50 fire trucks and vehicles responded, several water planes and helicopters all attended the fire to try and save the town.

"Due to Ben and I not being home and the dangerous situation and the very poor air quality at home our lovely elderly neighbours Robyn and Brian Sheehan evacuated and kindly took my mum and dad with them.

"They only gave them 15 minutes to grab anything that was important to us and them and the escaped south to Seymour to get away from the smoke.

"My parents are both in their 70s and they grabbed their passports and the few of our animals they could fit in the car and off they went with our neighbours."

Heather finally gave birth to her first child, baby James at 12.33pm, weighing in at 5lbs 5oz, followed by brother Brodie, 5lbs 5oz, half an hour later.

She said: "My epidural failed to work so I was in quite a bit of pain and distress, but Ben held my hand the entire hand and an amazing team of doctors and midwives helped me through it.

"Brodie was scheduled to have a breech extraction but actually turned himself around once James was out and managed to come out head first and safely thank goodness.

"Both babies are doing fantastic and are really healthy."

There was also a happy ending at home when firemen successfully put out the fire in their town and the animals were safe.

It is estimated that the bush fire crisis has claimed the lives of a billion animals and at least 25 people since it started in New South Wales three months ago.

It has destroyed 2,000 homes and torched more land than the size of Croatia.

Heather first featured in the Telegraph as a rookie heading off to seek fame and fortune at Newmarket, the headquarters of English flat racing.

She travelled the world and rubbed shoulders with such famous names as Frankie Dettori then settled in Australia three and a half years ago.

The new mum says she is hugely relieved the fires did not burn her house down like so many others.

She said: "The fires started north of us in Queensland and New South Wales then broke out in south Australia to the west of Victoria, so it was only a matter of time before we got our share of this terrible disaster too.

"You feel utterly helpless and at the mercy of Mother Nature.

"Everyone needs to have a fire plan in place.

"We live out in the country so it is even more dangerous for us than people who live in towns or cities, as we have no concrete roads or brick buildings around us for protection or to slow the advance of a fire.

"We are surrounded by grass paddocks and dry stressed trees - pure fire fuel."

Heather is still in hospital but can't wait to get home wither her double bundle of joy.

She said: "I am so looking forward to getting the boys home and settling in to a new family of four."