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Bega Valley Bushfire Update - January 8, 5pm

Bega Valley Shire Council advise:

Bega Valley Bushfire Update - January 8, 5pm

***BIG POST, LOTS OF INFO, GRAB A CUPPA***

The following bushfire advice from the RFS takes in all the active fire grounds from north to south in the shire, including the Border Fire, Werri Berri Fire, Badja Forest Road Fire, and Myrtle Mountain Road Fire.

The last couple of days have been about consolidation and preparation for RFS crews in the field.

Where firefighters can get to each fire safely, they are mopping up and blacking out edges and preparing new containment lines for what is predicted later this week.

Friday will be another challenging day. Similar in a lot of ways to what we experienced on Saturday, perhaps over a more protracted period.

People should prepare for Friday in the same way that they prepared for last Saturday.

“We have had a practice run at this now, I’d encourage people to review how things played out for them on Saturday," says Marty Webster from Far South Coast RFS.

“What are the things you could have done better? Are there things that you never want to do again?

“There are people who choose to stay and defend that are now saying they’d never do that again.

“That’s not the case for everyone but please be aware you are exposing yourself to possibly significant trauma even if the fire doesn’t impact your property."

Unfortunately, conditions are still too dynamic to allow for tourism promotion to resume.

Mayor Kristy McBain is encouraging people to shop local and for those who can to make an extra effort to support local cafes, restaurants and traders who would normally be busy with holidaymakers.

"I am going out to dinner tonight in Merimbula with a group of friends," she says.

"And as a community, we need to be aware that we have had people who have lost homes and jobs, we need to be mindful we have people doing it tough.

"So what every assistance people can give the business community at this time is really important."

Council's Recovery Action Committee has met and is thinking of the future while fire fighting efforts still play out.

New info today -

Power is back on to Bermagui and surrounds.

110 Essential Energy staff are on their way to bolster those already working so hard. Priorities are Cobargo, Quaama and surrounds, Wonboyn and Kiah.

Mobile phone reception restored at Verona and Towamba.

Power (generator) restored at the Mumbulla Mountain Communications Tower, status being monitored.

Local fuel reserves fully stocked ahead of bad fire weather on Friday and potential highway closures.

Princes Highway is now open to Wonboyn Road south of Eden. Its estimated the highway into Victoria will take a further 6 to 10 days to clear and reopen - there are over 200 trees across the road on the NSW side of the border alone.

Bega Evacuation Centre remains open, currently catering for 65 people. All other evac centres are closed, three centres are ready to be activated again in Bega and Merimbula if needed.

Useful info and links -

Bega Valley Shire Recovery Support - https://www.begavalley.nsw.gov.au/cp_them…/default/page.asp…

The Cobargo Disaster Welfare Assitance Point is operating at Cobargo Showground or call 1800 018 444 or - www.emergency.nsw.gov.au

Agriculture and Animal Services Hotline for water and fodder drops -1800 814 647

In terms of the ongoing bushfire situation follow and take the advice of the emergency services, stay in touch with the via the NSW RFS website (https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au) and the Fires Near Me App.

Tune to local radio – ABC South East on 810AM, 105.5FM or 106.3FM. Radio 2EC - 765 AM and Power FM - 102.5FM. Bega District News is providing coverage - free without the paywall at https://www.begadistrictnews.com.au/ About Regional is also running regular updates via https://aboutregional.com.au/ and https://www.facebook.com/AboutRegional/

Service NSW are standing ready to help those who have lost important documents and identification in the fires, call 13 77 88 or more at https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/…/natural-…/dealing-bushfire…

Donations to the Bega Valley Disaster Relief Fund - https://www.begavalley.nsw.gov.au/cp_them…/default/page.asp…

Financial assistance for people and businesses impacted by bushfire:

Red Cross – http://redcross.org/grants for those who have lost their homes (until 30 April 2020)

Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment phone 180 22 66 (before 5 July 2020)

NSW Disaster Relief Grants, contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line - 1800 018 444 or www.emergency.nsw.gov.au

NSW Rural Assistance Authority, ww.raa.nsw.gov.au/disaster-assistance, contact your closest Local Land Services or 1300 795 299

Rural Assist’s Disaster Recovery Grants for eligible businesses - 1800 678 593 or email rural.assist@raa.nsw.gov.au

Check your bank’s website or visit your local branch to discuss your needs and what financial relief is available to you if you have been impacted by the recent bushfires.

NAB Assist - 1300 683 106 Commonwealth Bank – 1300 720 814 or business customers call 13 26 07

Westpac Assist - 1800 067 497

ANZ hotline - 1800 149 549

Bendigo Bank – 1300 652 146

Rural Bank – 1300 660 115

Power outages, keep track of outages here - https://www.essentialenergy.com.au/outages-an…/power-outages

Bega Valley Waste Services:

Special bin collection tomorrow (January 9) for Quaama and Cobargo residents. Put your bins out tonight for collection tomorrow. At this stage, kerbside collections will only be able to occur within the town 50kms zones.

Regular household waste only. Do not dispose of building waste.

Kerbside collections were missed in many of the southern parts of the Shire last Friday (January 3). Kerbside collections will resume on your usual collection day in areas that are safe and accessible from local traffic.

All waste collected will be landfilled so please use your red, yellow and green bins to dispose of household waste including the contents of fridges and freezers. All bins presented will be emptied.

This is a short-term measure (1 week only) to assist with cleaning up areas that have been without power.

Council has opened the Candelo Waste Depot to assist residents in Bemboka and surrounds. The Candelo facility will be open for the rest of this week - Thursday and Friday7.30am to 4.30pm (closed for lunch 12noon - 1pm) and Saturday and Sunday 10:00am to 2.30pm.

Bermagui tip is accepting waste free of charge for fire affected residents. This will allow residents to dispose of items from fridges and freezers etc.

Bermagui hours of operation will be - Thursday and Friday 7:30am to 12 noon, then 1pm till 4:30pm. Saturday and Sunday 10am to 2:30pm

At this stage, Council is not accepting any fire affected material from damaged or destroyed homes, sheds or other structures. Information will follow regarding clean-ups.

Unfortunately, Cobargo and Bemboka tips have been impacted by fire and are unusable.

If you require replacement bins please call Council on 6499 2222. Check Council's Waste and Recycling Facebook page for more -https://www.facebook.com/BegaValleyWasteandRecycling/

Water -

A boil water notice remains in place for Eden, Boydtown, Bemboka, Quaama, Cobargo, Bermagui, Beauty Point, Fairhaven, Wallaga Lake, Wallaga Lake Heights, Wallaga Lake Koori Village and Akolele. More - https://www.begavalley.nsw.gov.au/cp_them…/default/page.asp…

Rainwater tanks contaminated by ash, more - https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/…/Pa…/rainwater-bushfires.aspx

Breathing bushfire smoke -

Info and advice from NSW Health - https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/…/Pa…/bushfire-protection.aspx and https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/…/a…/pages/bushfire-smoke.aspx

Asbestos - https://www.begavalley.nsw.gov.au/cp_them…/default/page.asp…

Find a public toilet - https://toiletmap.gov.au/

We also need to be mindful of our own wellbeing and that of those around us. If you are feeling that way, reach out to family and friends, share your time, space and thoughts with others; you are not alone at this time.

You might prefer to consult one of the telephone counselling services; Lifeline – 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue - 1300 22 4636. The Australian Red Cross website -https://www.redcross.org.au/get-help/emergencies also has some practical advice on looking after yourself in a crisis.

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