After being forced to evacuate his home late at night in January due to the threat of bushfires, Michael Campbell was not safe - he was so tired he fell asleep on the road and crashed into a tree.
The crash left the Greater Hume resident with broken ribs and a cracked sternum, and he needed to spend six days in hospital to recover.
He has now told the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements he should have never been put in that situation.
In a submission published this week, Mr Campbell described how police made it clear he had no choice but to leave when they knocked on his door at about 10:30pm on January 3.
He thought he would be fine to drive, but in reality had little sleep over the previous four nights because he "did not want to burn to death while sleeping".
It was 20 minutes into his trip to Albury that he fell asleep and crashed into a tree at between 80 and 100km/h.
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"I believe that this was a direct result of my fatigue," Mr Campbell said.
"My situation could have been avoided had I been allowed to stay and defend my property."
When he was finally discharged from hospital, he returned to a house that was left with no power or working phone line because of the fires.
Evidence continued in the Royal Commission hearings on Wednesday, with a focus on the hazard reduction measures taken in the lead-up to the 2019-20 season.
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning knowledge and planning director Hamish Webb told the hearing that the warnings of an "above average" fire season came in July, but it was too late to conduct any more fire reduction burns in tricky spring conditions.
Extra focus instead went into putting more firefighters and aircraft into danger areas and informing the public.
Mr Webb said DELWP had more success in stopping fires in its Hume region, where the Alpine Shire fires were burning, than in Gippsland because there was not as much underlying dryness.