4 December 2019

"There's nowhere safe at the moment" - RFS Deputy Incident Controller, Ken Hall

| Elise Searson
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Ken Hall

Ken Hall at the Long Beach fire briefing: “Leave by 9:00 am tomorrow. Be prepared to be away for a week.” Photos: Elise Searson.

Currowan Fire Deputy Incident Controller Ken Hall had a clear message for residents of Long Beach, Maloneys Beach and North Batemans Bay at a briefing this morning: “Leave by 9:00 am tomorrow. Be prepared to be away for a week. If it [the fire] hits Cullendulla it’ll be going in that North Batemans Bay area about the same time, so leave tomorrow morning.”

Most residents had questions about how much more time they had to prepare their homes for the fire. The answer: “Not much”.

Residents were urged to make the most of today’s “good weather” in preparation for tomorrow’ severe bushfire danger rating.

Sam Pulley

Sam Pulley in Long Beach: “The only thing that’ll stop this fire is rain”.

Sam Pulley is a member of the RFS and he recently did a lot of hazard reduction burning behind his house.

“Here I feel comfortable, and I have done a lot of training. My partner would like to leave, however, I’m not sure. The only thing that’ll stop this fire is rain.”

A resident asked Ken Hall specifically how and if the trucks would protect her home on Maloneys Drive.

“No,” he said.

“Be aware with this fire, we are using hard containment lines, that’s Cullendulla Drive. The roads that are tarred, and through the bush are the significant roads. So little fire trails and compartment roads we are not using. It’s too dangerous.

“So when we fight the fire we fall back to big containment options. We can’t put people in the road of these fires, they are too dry and too dangerous.”

Janine Garland

Janine Garland in Long Beach: “I don’t need to be a hero and stay”.

“My poor little timber house that I’ve raised my kids in is going to go,” Janine Garland says.

Her kids have been texting her for the last 24 hours begging her to leave, so that’s what she’s going to do.

“I don’t need to be a hero and stay,” she says. “I work at Batemans Bay Hospital. They can’t afford to be one staff member down if I get stuck here. I can serve my community better by leaving and it will make my kids happy.”

RFS worker and son

RFS worker with her child at the briefing.

Mr Hall told residents who choose to leave to “register so people know you’ve left” with the Red Cross’s Register.Find.Unite service, and “if you stay, leave your yellow bin out and write on it with a texta that you’re here and how many people are with you”.

Jenni Laidley

Jenni Laidley in Maloneys Beach is taking most of her things to Moruya.

“My baby is only seven-and-a-half months old. If I’m panicking, the baby will be affected so we’re planning on going to Moruya for a week,” says Maloneys Beach resident Jenni Laidley.

Over the coming week, and after the fire burns through Durras and Long Beach, it’s predicted to turn back into Nelligen and possibly onto Mogo.

“Our weather today is good but tomorrow the fire is coming towards us. We’ll get an easterly influence on Friday and hopefully, you can all come back and we have a bit of time before the next bad bit of weather,” Mr Hall says.

To stay up to date with all NSW bushfires, check the NSW RFS website, listen to your local radio station, or call the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737.

For information on road closures, check Live Traffic NSW.

Use Register.Find.Unite to register, finds and reunite with family, friends and loved ones after an emergency.

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