Eurobodalla Emergency Operations Centre community update – Friday 10 January 2020, 10am
NSW Rural Fire Service Far South Coast advise that an improved forecast means residents in Eurobodalla’s coastal areas can stay in place. There is no need to move to a main town or evacuation centre, unless you feel unsafe.
Conditions today will be similar to last Saturday, but not as bad. The north easterly influence on the coast means the main fire risk will be 10 kilometres or more inland.
Today’s forecast 25km/h southerly has potential for gusts up to 80km/h, predicted to come through around 9.30pm. It should only impact fire activity west of the current bushfires.
Rural and remote residents of the Deua Valley and Dignams Creek areas need to consider their ability to protect their properties today.
All residents are reminded there is still active fire in most of Eurobodalla and south to the Victorian border. Continue to monitor Fires Near Me and be prepared to enact your bushfire survival plan.
NSW RFS Far South Coast Incident Controller Angus Barnes said today is looking better but unfortunately we’re not out of this yet.
“This uncertainty will continue until we get good rain. We know people are frustrated about being asked to move to safety when challenging fire conditions are predicted. However, we’re dealing with unprecedented and uncertain fire behaviour, and our clear priority is always the protection of lives and property, in that order,” Mr Barnes said.
“If we know you are out of harm’s way, we can deploy our firefighting resources to provide optimal coverage.
“We ask residents to remain vigilant. Monitor the weather, continue checking Fires Near Me, stay engaged.”
Evacuation centres remain open 24/7 at:
· Batemans Bay evacuation centre Hanging Rock Function Centre, Hanging Rock Place
· Moruya evacuation centre Moruya Basketball stadium, in the showgrounds, Albert Street
· Narooma evacuation centre Leisure Centre, Bluewater Drive
Returning to Moruya west
Residents of Deua, Pollwombra and Larry’s Mountain Road areas west of Moruya may not return home for now while NSW RFS continues to monitor fire activity in that area.
NEW NSW Police
NSW Police has deployed additional personnel to Eurobodalla to assist in the emergency response. Fire impacted areas or areas that have evacuated are patrolled regularly to protect property. NSW Police report there has been no volume crime increase in Eurobodalla. Recent reported incidents of stealing and break and enter do not represent a significant increase on previous years. If you have information about illegal activity or suspected perpetrators, call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
NEW Australian Defence Force
Australian Defence Force personnel have been deployed to the Far South Coast to assist in bushfire clean-up efforts. Eurobodalla’s Emergency Operations Centre team welcomes them, and will provide more information soon about their activities in the shire.
For travel within Eurobodalla:
· Broulee Road and Araluen Road remain closed
· Avoid travelling west of the Princes Highway into areas of burnt ground or approaching fires, including areas such as Nerrigundah and Belowra.
The Princes Highway is open north and south. Continue to monitor Live Traffic. Drive cautiously, do not cross road blocks and obey traffic control.
All Eurobodalla residents should be conservative with water use until further notice to ensure we have enough water for drinking and firefighting. All reservoirs are now filled. Do not wet down buildings or grounds or leave sprinklers and hoses running. This is only useful when properties are under threat of fire or ember attack. An ember is a hot glowing coal – cold and blackened leaves are not embers.
If you are staying to defend your property according to your bushfire survival plan, filling your bins with water can be helpful for firefighting. Please empty them after and resume their normal use.
If you notice neighbours misusing water, you might feel comfortable having a chat to explain why it’s important to conserve our water for firefighting and community use, or you can call 1800 755 760 to report.
NEW Rubbish collection
Eurobodalla’s kerbside collection is back on track, but not necessarily up to date yet. The Surf Beach tip fire has put additional pressure on resources and Council is asking residents for patience while operations return to normal. Please keep your three bins out over the weekend, then resume your normal collection schedule from Monday 13 January.
Council advises they were unable to provide the additional green waste pick-ups advertised for the north of the shire because of the Surf Beach tip closure. Please continue your good bin habits – red for waste, yellow for recycling, green for green waste.
If filling bins with water to assist firefighting efforts, please don’t leave those filled bins on the kerb now that kerbside collection has recommenced.
Surf Beach tip is closed due to fire impacts. Moruya Transfer Station will now open seven days per week until Surf Beach re-opens, and Brou tip is open seven days per week.
Residents whose bins have been destroyed by fire, please contact Council’s waste services on 4474 1024 to organise delivery of replacements.
Essential Energy restored power to 760 customers in Surf Beach last night. Essential Energy reports that 2,473 customers remain without power in Eurobodalla in the areas of Sunshine Bay, Broulee, Malua Bay, Mogo, Rosedale, Nerrigundah, Tomakin, Catalina and Nelligen. The Surf Beach and Sunshine Bay electricity network, near Batemans Bay, has suffered extensive damage. Once crews are able to safely access firegrounds, estimated times to restore the damage and return power to customers will be provided.
A small number of customers who had power restored are unfortunately experiencing an additional unplanned outage as a result of further bushfire damage.
Essential Energy remind the community that during fire activity the electricity network may need to be switched off or it may be damaged. This means power will not be available for pumps and customers should have an alternative plan for water if it is required.
Eurobodalla has been overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of people from around Australia donating items for our fire affected residents. NSW Government agencies along with charity partners and local community organisations are helping provide emergency shelter, food and water. NSW Disaster Welfare Recovery is now asking people to reconsider how they can best support those impacted. Money gives people choice to buy the things they really need, empowers them to make decisions about their future and lets them support their local businesses by spending locally.
Please do not donate physical goods such as toys, furniture and clothes at this time. They are usually not needed and fill up community spaces, while taking volunteers away from other important tasks. If you have unwanted goods please consider selling them and donating the proceeds instead.
Consider donations to Salvation Army 2019 November Bushfire Appeal, Red Cross Relief and Recovery, St Vincent de Paul Society Bushfire Appeal, Wildlife Rescue.
Fire affected land managers – stock and infrastructure assistance
Fire affected land managers can report stock losses and infrastructure damage, request animal assessment, or request emergency fodder or water for stock, by calling the Agricultural and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647. Fodder distribution points are now open across the South East. We ask that you call the hotline to register and only present to a fodder distribution point when advised to.
Food and fuel
Food and fuel trucks are coming into Eurobodalla.
Do not sift through fire-damaged material until it has been inspected and verified to be asbestos-free. Licensed contractors from NSW Public Works Authority are progressively working through fire-affected areas, and started yesterday Monday 6 January.
Smoke, ash, debris, potential runoff from burnt areas and sewer surcharges may have impacted Eurobodalla’s waterways. As a precaution residents are advised to avoid swimming in waterways and beaches for now.
The good news is Eurobodalla’s three swimming centres in Batemans Bay, Moruya and Narooma have re-opened. Council’s website has opening hours and check with the pools for resumption of regular programming. Fire ash continues to be blown into Moruya and Batemans Bay centres and although this ash may be unsightly, the water remains suitable for swimming.
Eurobodalla’s Emergency Operations Centre reminds visitors to delay their travel plans to Eurobodalla for now. Local tourism businesses are urged to adhere to this advice. At this time it is in the best interests of visitors and our community to delay travel plans to Eurobodalla. Many local residents have lost their homes or can't return to them and these people require accommodation, resources and support. There is still active fire in most of Eurobodalla and south to the Victorian border and visitors should stay away from the Eurobodalla until NSW RFS advise otherwise.
To those at evacuation centres, we thank you for your patience and goodwill in trying circumstances. The centres will remain open and providing support for as long as required. Please talk to centre staff about disaster welfare assistance. We understand online access to information about support services is limited, and printed information is now available at the centres.
Eurobodalla Emergency Operations Centre will continue to provide 10am and 6pm updates for the community. These are distributed to local media, community associations, evacuation centres, posted on Eurobodalla Council’s Facebook page and website, as well as printed and pinned to community noticeboards. Other announcements are made as required via local media and social media. Eurobodalla Council prepares and distributes the official communications as part of the multi-agency emergency response.
Communications can be difficult when power is out. Have a battery-powered radio on hand for company and information when this happens. Our local radio stations ABC Southeast and 2EC/PowerFM are providing continuous coverage and broadcasting the official community updates.
· Fires Near Me app and website or call 1800 679 737
· Live Traffic app and website or call 132 701
· Disaster Welfare Assistance (food and shelter, disaster relief grants) emergency.nsw.gov.au or call 1800 018 444
· NSW DPI Agriculture and Animal Services call 1800 814 647
Warren Sharpe, OAM
Eurobodalla Local Emergency Management Officer