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UPDATE: Moruya again counts fire cost as conditions ease overnight

Genevieve Jacobs and Elka Wood

Moruya RFS fighting the January 4 blazes. Photo: Moruya RFS Facebook.

UPDATE 9 am, January 24: Moruya is counting the cost this morning of yesterday’s fire. Fire activity eased last night as the southerly established itself and light rain fell on the fire ground.

There are unconfirmed reports up to 10 homes have been lost on the town’s western outskirts. Homes on Yarragee Road and Deua Valley/ Araluen Road have been impacted, as well as the Moruya Transfer station, with the flames reaching the boundary of Marshall’s bus depot.

Power is still out from Moruya to Mossy Point with crews not being able to work last night as fire impacted the depot at the Moruya industrial area near the tip.

The fire also came within 150 metres of Moruya Hospital but firefighters were able to keep it at bay.

Six NSW RFS firefighters have been taken to Batemans Bay Hospital after their truck rolled, and could include spinal injuries.

The Clyde Mountain fire merged with the Badga Forest Road fire in the south, and there are reports of properties lost south of Moruya, west of Bermagui and in Dignams Creek.

This morning the Princess Highway is closed in both directions between Coila and Bodalla, and further south between Tilba Tilba and Cobargo.

UPDATE 10:15 pm, January 23: Fire activity continues in the Moruya area, where there are multiple blazes active to the west and south-west of the town. The Clyde Mountain and Badja fires have joined and earlier this evening impacted Moruya directly.

The RFS remains concerned about unpredictable wind conditions and are advising people to stay where they’re safe overnight.

People who are sheltering somewhere safe in Narooma should remain there until further advice is received from the RFS. Narooma residents who are unable to return home tonight can call Disaster Welfare to arrange emergency accommodation: call 1800 422 322.

The Tuross Head Country Club has confirmed it will stay open overnight for residents seeking refuge.

The Narooma Leisure Centre is now open for people to shelter if required. It is not an evacuation centre. The Moruya evacuation centre is open until further notice at the basketball courts in Albert St.

Fire has also spread towards the Bodalla area on both sides of the Princes Highway, is continuing to burn towards Potato Point and has increased in the area north of Narooma.

The Princes Highway has been impacted between Narooma and Dignams Creek as the Badja Forest fire moved towards Bermagui. A number of local roads are closed due to fire, fallen trees and downed power lines.

The threat to Bermagui and Cuttagee also eased as the southerly came through this evening.

Essential Energy has advised that 6,975 Eurobodalla customers have lost power during today’s fires, most recently Potato Point, parts of Bodalla and northern Dalmeny, along with Rosedale, Mossy Point, Broulee, Tomakin, Malua Bay, Moruya, Mogendoura, and Wallaga Lake earlier this afternoon.

Eurobodalla Council says that access to the Essential Energy depot in west Moruya has been constrained due to fires in that area, however, crews continue to patrol the network and are working to get the Moruya-Mossy Point line back up.

Generators are in place at the Moruya evacuation centre and other critical infrastructure including water reservoirs, petrol stations, hospitals and aged care facilities.

The Kings Highway re-opened earlier this evening but the Princes Highway remains closed at Dignams Creek between Bermagui Road and Cobargo village; and between Potato Point Road at Bodalla and Hector McWilliam Drive, Tuross Head.

Further south in the Bega Valley, the Princes Highway between Cobargo and the Bermagui Road turnoff south of Tilba is expected to remain closed overnight. The Cobargo – Bermagui Road also remains closed as backburning operations are planned in that area overnight.

Residents of Fairhaven, Wallaga Lake, Wallaga Lake Heights, Akolele, and Bermagui can return home for the night but residents of Rocky Hall and surrounds who left their home earlier today should stay where they are for the night and reassess the situation tomorrow.

The weather over the next 24 hours should ease as the southerly moves through. The forecasts for tomorrow show low to moderate ratings enabling consolidation work on fires.

On the lookout in Moruya

On the lookout in Moruya. Photo: Alex Rea, Region Media.

UPDATE 6:15 pm, January 23: Fire is now directly impacting Moruya township after crossing the river at Yarragee. Streets west of the hospital are under direct attack from the Clyde River fire.

The fire is moving through the western edges of Moruya and flames are clearly visible from the Moruya Hospital and in the industrial area near the tip.

Fire is now directly impacting Moruya township after crossing the river at Yarragee. Streets west of the hospital are under direct attack from the Clyde River fire and the fire is also moving into the industrial area near the tip, while Moruya Hospital is on standby to evacuate. http://ow.ly/n3WW50y2Huc

Posted by About Regional on Thursday, 23 January 2020

Moruya Hospital is on standby to evacuate and eyewitnesses describe the winds this afternoon as “diabolical”. The wind has dropped slightly, and a weak southerly change is having some effect on the blaze.

The Eurobodalla Shire Council has issued a plea to save Eurobodalla’s water supply and not use hoses or sprinklers to wet down your property unless you can see glowing embers or fire.

The evacuation centre in Moruya at the basketball stadium in Albert St opened today at 2.30pm today for residents needing to evacuate and will stay open until no longer required. The Bega evacuation centre at the showgrounds is also open.

If you decide to evacuate, take a bag with medications, prescriptions, important documents, precious items, wallet, phone and charger, clothing for all seasons and toiletries for a few days. If you can, bring your own bedding – blankets, towels, swags, doonas, pillows – and your own food if possible.

People with babies and young children should bring nappies, formula, baby food, toys and activities. Small pets are welcome. Please bring pet food and bowls. Large animals can be accommodated under owner-care at Moruya Showground. Local Land Services reps are onsite to assist with animal welfare.

Large animals can be accommodated under owner-care at Moruya Showground. Local Land Services reps are onsite to assist with animal welfare.

Power has been lost in Moruya, Broulee and Mossy Point areas. Please prepare for more outages. Generators are in place at the Moruya evacuation centre and other critical infrastructure including water reservoirs, petrol stations, hospitals and aged care facilities

Once you have established where you will be, please register online with the Red Cross Register.Find.Reunite. Registering online so family and friends can find you.

UPDATE 5:00 pm, January 23: The situation in Moruya is becoming increasingly dangerous as the Clyde River fire has crossed the Araluen Road and is spreading quickly towards Moruya. The fire has now merged with the Badja Forest Fire in the south.

The situation in Moruya is becoming increasingly dangerous as the Clyde River fire has merged with the Badja Forest Fire and is spreading rapidly towards town. Region Media has been given an eye witness account of a large plume of smoke and "a huge bang" in the area near the Marshalls Bus depot. Hopes rest on the arrival of a southerly. Live updates: http://ow.ly/n3WW50y2Huc

Posted by About Regional on Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Region Media has received reports that the fire is along the River Rd from the Moruya Hospital and has been given an eye witness account of a large plume of smoke and “a huge bang” in the area near the Marshalls Bus depot.

We understand that Moruya Hospital is on standby to evacuate if necessary and there are unconfirmed reports of structures being lost on the town’s perimeter.

Strong winds and high temperatures are being experienced and the fire is spreading quickly. The RFS reports that embers are being blown ahead of the main fire front.

Aircraft are unable to fly due to strong winds, and the RFS says there is now an immediate threat to homes. Hopes are being pinned on the arrival of a southerly which is currently at Montague Island, but the Bureau of Meteorology is not predicting a strong effect when the change arrives.

The Kings Highway has now been closed between Bay Ridge Drive at north Batemans Bay and Old Nelligen Rd., Nelligen. Further south, the Princes Highway between the Cobargo Bermagui Rd and Bermagui Rd also remains closed. Wallaga Lake Rd and Bermagui Rd itself are also closed.

If you are in the areas of Moruya, West Moruya, Mogendoura and Wamban, you are at risk. Seek shelter as the fire front arrives.
Protect yourself from the heat of the fire, be alert to burning embers.

It is too late to leave areas from Moruya to Tuross Head including Wallaga Lake, Akolele, Bermagui and Coolagolite. Seek shelter as the fire approaches and protect yourself from the heat of the fire.

There is active fire in small sections of the Deua National Park. Monitor conditions. Know what you will do if the fire threatens.

Power is out from Moruya to Batemans Bay and the Badja Forest Fire has impacted the Princes Highway further south in the Bega Valley. There's also news that a large air tanker has gone down near Peak View where firefighting efforts continue on the Adaminaby Fire.

Posted by About Regional on Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Moruya

Moruya. Photo: Alex Rea, Region Media.

UPDATE 4:00 pm, January 23: People in Moruya, West Moruya, Mogendoura and Wamban are being advised to seek shelter as the fire front from the Clyde Mountain fire passes. The fire remains at emergency advice level.

A wind change is expected to pass through Moruya at about 8:00 pm.

“There is an immediate threat to homes,” the NSW Rural Fire Service says.

“Be alert to burning embers. These may start spot fires ahead of the main fire front.”

For areas from Moruya to Tuross Head including Wallaga Lake, Akolele, Bermagui and Coolagolite, it is too late to leave.

There is an active fire in small sections of the Deua National Park.

There are widespread power outages across the areas between Moruya and Batemans Bay and as far as Nelligen. Power is also out in the Mongarlowe area.

Meanwhile, the NSW RFS has confirmed that an air tanker fighting a blaze north-east of Cooma in the Snowy Monaro area is missing.

The Adaminaby Complex fire is burning to the north and north-west of Adaminaby. It has been downgraded to watch and act.

“The immediate threat has eased. Some light rain is falling on the fire ground,” the RFS says.

The Bureau of Meteorology has told Region Media that a weak southerly change has passed through Merimbula, where temperatures have dropped more than 13 degrees.

“Merimbula’s temperature was 30 degrees and dropped to 17 as the change passed through,” a duty forecaster with the BOM said.

“The change is mostly confined to the coastal areas and should pass through Moruya at about 8:00 pm.”

Winds have been very strong, with a gust of 96km/h recorded at Bombala earlier today. Winds are currently still strong from the south to south-east at about 50km/h.

The Badja Forest Road bushfire is also still at emergency level. The Princes Highway has been impacted between Narooma and Dignams Creek. 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 and the Werri Berri fire in the south-west,” the RFS says.

Fire activity at Moruya River on 23 January. Photo: Alex Rea, Region Media.

UPDATE 2:45 pm, January 23: Three emergency level bushfires are burning on the south-east of NSW today and there are now widespread power outages across the areas between Moruya and Batemans Bay and as far as Nelligen. Power is also out in the Mongarlowe area.

Further south the Badja Foresty fire is increasingly active and has now impacted the Princes Highway between Narooma and Dignams Creek. High temperatures and strong winds are fuelling the blaze around Tanja and Dignams Creek and fire activity is also increasing in the area north of Narooma.

A number of local roads are closed due to fire, fallen trees and downed power lines.

If you are in Wallaga Lake, Akolele, Bermagui and Coolagolite, leave now towards Bermagui if the path is clear. At Dignams Creek, leave now towards Bega if the path is clear.

The fire is burning towards the area of Wagonga Scenic Drive, leave now if the path is clear towards Narooma.

Do not be in the path of the fire. The RFS strongly advises protecting 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.

News is just coming in that a large air tanker appears to have gone down in firefighting efforts at Adaminaby. Details are scarce, but Region Media understands that the aircraft was water bombing in the Peak View area south of Good Good. Contact was lost with the aircraft and helicopters and ground crew are currently investigating.

Strong north-westerly winds have fanned existing fires along the coast including the Clyde Mountain Fire near Batemans Bay and the Adaminaby Complex Fire near Adaminaby and a new fire, the Big Jack Mountain Fire further south. All are at emergency level. Region Media staff report very strong winds in the Moruya region, where the power has gone off and that trees and branches are down on the Kings Highway on the mountain. http://ow.ly/eH6a50y2DzV

Posted by About Regional on Wednesday, 22 January 2020

An emergency level bushfire has crossed Araluen Road and there is an immediate threat to homes in the Moruya, West Moruya, Mogendoura and Wamban areas.

The NSW Rural Fire Service says the Clyde Mountain fire is spreading quickly towards Moruya, with strong winds and high temperatures are being experienced.

“Embers are being blown ahead of the main fire front. These may start spot fires,” the RFS website says.

Aircraft are unable to fly due to strong winds.

Fire activity is also increasing in the Merricumbene area.

This fire has grown from the Currowan fire on the southern flank.

Despite recent rainfall, a return to hot, dry and windy conditions today is likely to result in an increase in fire activity.

Further south, a new fire, the Big Jack Mountain Fire, has started in the Bega Valley locality of Rocky Hall and quickly reached emergency levels.

The RFS says properties in the area of Mount Durrah, Rocky Hall and Stoves Road may come under threat.

Strong north-westerly winds are being experienced.

The advice from the RFS is of you in the area of Mount Durragh, Rocky Hall or Wyndham and your plan is to leave or you are not prepared, leave now only if the path is clear towards Pambula.

Fire activity is also with the Adaminaby Complex Fire that is also at emergency level. The fire may reach the Adaminaby area this afternoon.

The RFS says strong north-westerly winds are being experienced and the fire is spreading quickly towards the area of Adaminaby.

Advice is that areas including Shannons Flat, Ashvale, Anglers Reach, Old Adaminaby and Bobeyan Road may come under threat.

If you are in this area, seek shelter as the fire front approaches.

To stay up to date on bushfires in your area call the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737 or check the NSW RFS website. For road reports and updates visit Live Traffic NSW.

Use the Register.Find.Unite service to register your location, and find and reunite with family, friends and loved ones after an emergency.

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