5 December 2019

"Together Brings Strength" - Bawley Point residents pull together in fire emergency

| Elise Searson
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Fire at the Southern boundary of Willinga Park. Photo: Ellena McTavish.

What would you do? Stay or leave. This question has been weighing heavily on the shoulders of Bawley Point residents for the last couple days as the heat of the Currowan Fire intensifies on the village north of Batemans Bay.

Ellena McTavish was going to wait it out but says “we evacuated yesterday when it got too hectic. The plan was to go to the evacuation point on the headland of Bawley Point.”

Bawley Point is a strong little village who know how to pull together in a crisis. “A friend of mine has been keeping the RFS team well fed with a constant flow of food drops.”

Carly McTavish has been keeping the firefighters fed with food drop offs. Photo: Carly McTavish.

Erik Adrianne has owned a home in Bawley Point since 1985 and has never seen anything like these fires, “our home is surrounded by Sheoak trees, they’ll go up like crackers in the fire.”

Erik and his wife Niree Creed also decided to leave, heading north to Sydney, “today is the calm before the next storm. It was very serious yesterday and overnight it became less. But when the westerly picks up again it will take the fire past Turmeil, leaving us no way out.”

“Last night we drove to the beach with our kayaks ready to paddle out of here.”

On the frontline. Photo: RFS

“It’s dangerous to stay. We are relying on the firefighters and the resources that are being shared around NSW – which is part of the problem,” Erik says

May Perno left not long after the warning on Sunday, “I had to leave my horses, cats, chicken and fish,” she says. “It’s just so hard driving away from them, I don’t know what to do.”

Bawley Point runs on tank water, their pools are empty because they have no water. “We live off rain, we have no water hydrants either so the water trucks need to be used to refill the trucks. That’s what puts us rural people behind,” May says.

Kiola Beach. Photo: Jess McAlpine.

Jess McAlpine is currently in Bawley Point and is staying put for now, “we have been listening to the RFS scanner to keep us updated which has been a great help.”

Their next move all depends on the wind direction and how quick it spreads.

“We will probably stay at home indoors where there is no smoke and its safe or head to the headland if it gets too much. We are ready to leave if it comes to the point. For now I feel safe knowing the RFS are everywhere.”

Locals are asking others to donate to the RFS to enable them to keep saving lives and homes. Donate here and next time you are in Bawley Point keep an eye out for the sign – ‘Together Brings Strength’

Check the NSW Rural Fire Service website for updates and advice on preparing for fire.

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