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Bega Valley, Snowy Monaro and Eurobodalla Shires bushfires: RFS says be prepared

Lisa Herbert30 January 2020
"Work alongside us. Have faith in us, it’s been a difficult month, but we will get through this.” John Cullen - RFS.

“Work alongside us. Have faith in us. It’s been a difficult month, but we will get through this.” – John Cullen, NSW RFS.

Increased fire dangers are set to return over the coming days across Bega and Eurobodalla Shires. Residents are being warned that widespread very high and severe fire danger is forecast for parts of NSW, particularly in the south-east.

A number of large fires continue to burn in these areas, so it’s important that residents are prepared if a fire threatens.

Superintendent John Cullen from the NSW RFS says that starting tomorrow, the coast will experience an easterly influence as winds strengthen inland, with humidity in the 20s which elevates the fire behaviour.

“Into Saturday, (there’s) still the easterly influence on the coast and then different influences from the escarpment and the geography of the valley. Here we start to get northwesterly winds, lower humidity, and elevated temperatures, and that’s the reason we’re gearing up.

“There is so much heated air above, pulling the fire in and sending it to the north-west, which is an unusual direction for the fire to travel. It just shows the potential for fires to move in all directions. We urge awareness.

“We don’t want people to drop their guard here. We are certainly in a dangerous situation. I urge property owners to gear up for what is ahead of us.

“This is serious predicted weather and we do not want to see complacency. Have your plan, act on your decision to leave or stay by lunchtime on Friday.

“Do not leave your decision too late. We want to know our community is safe while we are out there fighting the fires.”

“Work alongside us. Have faith in us. It’s been a difficult month, but we will get through this.”

The Bega Evacuation Centre at the Bega Showgrounds will be operating from tomorrow morning. Bermagui Surf Club will be operating as an Evacuation Centre from tomorrow morning. There will be an evacuation centre set up in Merimbula if needed.

There will be live Facebook updates on the BVSC Facebook page at 10:30 am and 2:30 pm Friday and Saturday.

Council staff have advised trunk main customers to fill your water tanks at home this afternoon and limit your use of town water during this time. It’s important to note that sprinklers and hoses can interfere with pressure available to firefighters.

Helicopters and fixed-wing water bombers are still very active across the regions. Efforts are being focused on consolidating containment lines and securing edges over the coming days.

The State Emergency Service will assist with door knocking in parts of the Bega Valley ahead of the hot temperatures forecast for Friday and Saturday. Door-knocking is taking place in Barragga Bay, Candelo and Tantawangalo. Mogareeka and Dr George were door-knocked on Wednesday.

People are encouraged to monitor weather and fire conditions near them.

In Batemans Bay, the region’s incredible community spirit is being celebrated with an evening of free entertainment and a BBQ dinner is being held this Thursday 30 January at Foreshore Park.

Aria Award-winning artist Samantha Jade has generously donated her time, along with local three-piece rockabilly band Shack Shakers and Sydney Confidential journalist Jonathon Moran will be the MC. There will also be special appearances by NRL players and other special guests from Summer Bay.

Major Fires Update:

Border Fire (Bega Valley LGA)

Currently at ADVICE level. A bushfire is burning north from the Victorian border. The fire is currently more than 168,000 hectares and is being controlled. The fire is 9-10 kms from Rocky Hall. Communities are advised to keep themselves well informed.

This is still an active fire but the RFS has done a lot of work in this area and there is much work going on in Victoria to contain this fire.

Current Situation:

There is still an active fire burning behind identified containment lines.
The fire also spread to areas around Towamba on its western edge near Burragate and New Buildings.
There are many areas that are now safe for people to visit.
Weather conditions are expected to deteriorate later this week.
Hot, dry and windy conditions are forecast for Friday and Saturday.

Advice:

Wonboyn, Kiah, Narrabarba and surrounds

The fire has moved through this area.
Monitor conditions.
Be alert for falling trees and branches.
A number of roads are fire affected, blocked or closed.

Nethercote Burragate, Towamba, New Buildings and surrounds

There may still be areas of active fire, do not become complacent.
Monitor conditions. Know what you will do if the fire threatens.
A number of roads are blocked and closed.
Be aware of the danger of falling trees and branches.

Eden, Mila, Wyndham, Rocky Hall, Rockton, Nungatta, Warrawilla, Rosemeath, Cathcart, Bondi Gulf, Paddy’s Flat, Mount Darragh, Bombala and surrounds

Monitor conditions.
Know what you will do if the fire threatens.
Be prepared to take action should conditions change.

Creewah Fire, Glen Allen (Snowy Monaro LGA)

This fire is now at WATCH AND ACT level and has burned 3500 hectares. Fire activity is increasing in the area of Glen Allen Rd. People in this area should enact their bush fire survival plan.
If your plan is to leave, leaving early is the safest option.

Postmans Trail Fire (Bega Valley LGA)

Currently at ADVICE level. RFS is currently working on aerial containment and mineral earth lines. Communities need to be well prepared for the weekend. This fire is separated by 1km from the Creewah Fire. Some bulldozer work in this area is being carried out on difficult country and some work will be done with aircraft. The RFS has prepared trails for backburning in the future.

Big Jack Mountain Fire (Bega Valley LGA)

Currently at ADVICE level. This fire is moving slowly but active weather will cause flare-ups and the fire is in difficult country that is steep and rocky. The RFS has performed work with retardant to slow the progress down. Communities have been preparing for a week and there is potential for the fire to move around Rocky Hall if conditions allow over the weekend.

Badja Forest Road, Countegany (Snowy Monaro, Eurobodalla and Bega Valley LGAs)

Currently at ADVICE level. A bush fire has been burning over a large area between the Bega and Moruya areas.
The fire is more than 292,630 hectares in size and is being controlled. Activity is being suppressed, however there are active pockets. As flight is available, this fire is being water bombed.

Current Situation:

Fire activity has eased across the fire ground with favourable conditions expected over coming days.
Hot, dry and windy weather is forecast for Friday and Saturday.
Efforts will be focused on consolidating containment lines and securing edges.
The Princes Highway is open.
A number of local roads are closed due to fire, fallen trees and downed power lines.

This fire joined the Good Good fire in the west, the Werri Berri fire in the south west and will likely join the Clyde Mountain fire in the north.

Advice:

Woola and Nobbles Island
Monitor conditions. There are a number of fires burning to the north, south and west of the area. Be alert for embers and spot fires. Know what you will do if the fire threatens.

Areas recently impacted by fire including areas to the west of Narooma and Dalmeny, Dignams Creek, Tilba, Coolagolite, Moruya, Bumbo, Bodalla, Potato Point, Eurobodalla and surrounding areas.

We have been working to contain this fire. Sections of unburnt bush may continue to burn. If you are in the area, monitor conditions and know what you will do if the fire threatens. Fallen trees and power lines continue to affect local roads.

If you are in the areas west of Bega between Snowy Mountains Highway in the north, and Candelo-Bega Road in the south, as well as the Desert Creek and Double Creek, Yankees Gap or Brogo areas, there is no new threat.

The Badja fire has now joined with the Werri Berri fire on its northern flank.
Continue to monitor conditions.

In the Bermagui, Tanja, Wallaga Lake, Mumbullah Mountain areas, the RFS has undertaken a really concentrated effort in this area, right along the escarpment. Crews have been working there, through the Murrah and Cuttagee, with lines created during the week.

There has been active fire around Gulaga, and Dignams Creek, but the RFS are working hard to deploy retardant.

Clyde Mountain (Eurobodalla LGA)

Currently at ADVICE level. A bushfire is burning in the Clyde Mountain area south of the Kings Highway, through to the Deua River Valley. The fire is more than 95,400 hectares in size and is being controlled.

Current Situation:

Firefighters continue working to slow the spread of the fire and efforts will be focused on reconsolidating containment lines and securing edges. Backburning may be undertaken across the fire-ground as conditions allow.

Hot, dry and windy conditions are forecast for Friday and Saturday. This fire will likely merge with the Badja Forest Road fire in the south.

Advice:

Moruya, West Moruya, Mogendoura and Wamban:

Monitor the conditions. Know what you will do if the fire threatens. The fire continues to burn through pockets of unburnt bush. Be alert for falling trees and branches.

Areas from Moruya to Tuross Head, and Bumbo, Bodalla and Eurobodalla:

Monitor the conditions. Know what you will do if the fire threatens. Be alert for falling trees and branches.

Woola and Nobbies Island:

Monitor conditions. Know what you will do if the fire threatens. Fire continues to burn in the area. Be alert for embers and spot fires. Be alert for falling trees and branches.

Advice and contact:

Make informed decisions based on information from official channels.

If you are threatened by fire:

Do not be in the path of the fire.
Protect yourself from the heat of the fire. Wear protective clothing and footwear.
Cover all exposed skin.
If the fire impacts, seek shelter in a solid structure to protect yourself from the heat of the fire.
If your life is at risk, call Triple Zero (000).

If you are in an area that has already been affected by fire, there may be small areas of active fire burning for some time. Be aware of the dangers of trees and branches falling.

The RFS says that residents should keep watching the fire danger messaging. Many people have anxiety fatigue, and others are hyper-vigilant. Marty Webster from the RFS says “Be assured, the further away you are from fire, the less risk, and the RFS is dealing with areas we know we have problems.”

People with respiratory conditions who are affected by bush fire smoke should activate their health management plan and seek medical advice if necessary.

Take precautions such as staying indoors and closing windows. Roads may be closed without warning.

Recovery information:

The home base for the Recovery Centre is the Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre in Zingel Place Bega and is open from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm weekdays and from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Saturday. Closed Sunday.

You can make contact on 6499 2345 or via email at [email protected]

A range of services are available for residents to meet with face to face.

Accessing the mobile service is another option, especially for those living in our more remote areas.
The Mobile Recovery Outreach Service is open between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm on the following days:

  • Quaama Hall – Tuesdays
  • Towamba Hall – Tuesdays
  • Bemboka Hall – Wednesdays
  • Wonboyn RFS Shed – Wednesdays
  • Cobargo Hall – Thursdays and Saturdays
  • Eden Log Cabin – Thursdays and Saturdays
  • Bermagui Community Centre – Fridays
  • Wyndham Hall – Fridays

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