30 December 2019

Visitors told to leave the Eurobodalla now or be ready with a fire survival plan

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Eurobodalla Fire Control Centre

Eurobodalla fire resources are being readied for severe conditions over the next two days. Photo: Alex Rea

Summer tourists in popular South Coast visitor destinations have been told in no uncertain terms to leave the Eurobodalla now if they are planning to go as fire risks heighten over the next two days.

The warning extends to people in South Durras, Batemans Bay, Broulee, Moruya, Tuross Head, Narooma and Tilba, all popular destinations for Canberrans and regional visitors who may also have holiday homes in the area.

NSW Rural Fire Services warned today that there is significant potential for fires on the Far South Coast to impact people’s travel plans tomorrow and over coming days in all those areas as they brace for significant adverse weather conditions.

They say that visitors who choose to remain may not be able to leave until fire-impacted areas can be made safe. If you need to leave, leaving now is the safest option. All travel plans should be reconsidered in light of the risk.

Similar warnings for the Shoalhaven were issued two days ago when emergency operations controller Ray Stynes and incident controller Superintendent Mark Williams asked visitors to stay away if possible due to intense pressure on local resources.

Access to the coast from Canberra has been cut for weeks as the Kings Highway remains shut from Braidwood as fires rage across the Clyde. Visitors have been forced to travel over Brown Mountain to Bega or down the coast via Kangaroo Valley. But as the Currowan fire edges north towards the Southern Highlands, those routes are also coming under threat.

Crews are currently attempting to control the north and northeastern fronts of the Currowan fire but the RFS says there is “every likelihood” that the fire could cross the Shoalhaven River. In a worst-case scenario, it could reach the village of Kangaroo Valley, although not immediately.

The RFS says that anyone who intends to stay on the South Coast should have a bushfire survival plan ready to enact. Visitors should not enter bushland areas.

Check Live Traffic and Fires Near Me prior to departure, and regularly during your journey. Drive with your car headlights on at all times so you can be seen, and travel with extra food and water.

Stay up to date with the latest RFS information via Fires Near Me, call 1800 679 737 or listen to ABC Southeast radio or 2EC/PowerFM.

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Catherine Mills1:24 pm 03 Jan 20

Many seem to be of the mistaken belief that Victorians were aware of the fire risks on the coast prior to arriving. I had not received any notification until New Year’s Eve by which time it was too late to leave. We left as soon as it was possible for us as did the majority in our camping ground. We travel every year to holiday on the South coast of NSW and have always been welcomed by the locals. It is disappointing to read such illinformed, disparaging comments.

Stephanie Klempfner12:17 pm 02 Jan 20

HELP REQUESTED: If anyone is in the Central Tilba area, I am concerned about my brother and his wife. Neil and Danuta Graham, on a bushland property off the Punkalla Tilba Road, about a kilometer along the road, just before it turns sharp right. If someone could try to encourage them to leave if it is not too late I would be very grateful.

Paul Edwards4:03 pm 31 Dec 19

As a visitor to Australia I can’t understand how your politicians have allowed this to get to this catastrophic stage. You are relying on volunteers to control a no-win situation. This is a national emergency and should be treated as such with a national response using all your resources and your armed services personnel. Save your fireworks celebrations for the day when this is all over and use it to congratulate everyone’s efforts – not to entertain tourists. We will understand.

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