TWO fire trucks and a small bus left Nambucca Heads on Monday morning bound for Sydney and the dire situation unfolding there.
Rural Fire Service (RFS) zone Superintendent Lachlann Ison said 17 volunteers from the Valley plus seven aviation specialists had been mobilised to be part of the Mid North Coast strike team. The team includes trucks from the Valla and Newee Creek brigades.
“We’ve sent enough crew for day and night teams for the two trucks,” Supt Ison told the Guardian.
“The crews are rostered for shifts on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and potentially we’ll send fresh crews south on Friday.
“They are doing it hard in Sydney at the moment so we will keep providing whatever support we can and responding to whatever requests we receive.”
Supt Ison said while Friday’s rain in the Nambucca Shire had helped ease conditions slightly, the underlying drought conditions were still a major concern and fire permits continue to be suspended.
“We’ve really only had 18mm since July and then nothing for the last four weeks, so the message is: it is still very dry and people need to be extra vigilant.
“The warm westerly winds are bad and even the southerly changes are coming through dry and blustery.”
He said the Hades Creek and Cedar Trail fires that National Parks and Forests NSW had been fighting for the past two weeks had now been put on ‘patrol’ status.
Meanwhile, town firefighters from Nambucca Heads, Macksville and Bowraville Fire and Rescue (FRNSW) were deployed to the southern parts of the State on Tuesday.
“Fifty-three fire engines, tankers and crews – more than 200 fire officers from across regional NSW – have headed to Sydney this week to assist in the extreme fire conditions,” FRNSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said.
“The Blue Mountains and surrounding communities could be facing a bushfire threat on a scale that has not been experienced before. As such, FRNSW will be at maximum capacity and will work shoulder to shoulder with NSW Rural Fire Service volunteers to protect lives and property in mountain communities.”
Last week, Nambucca Heads FRNSW captain Robert Couchman issued a timely reminder to around 200 residents of the Valley in a demonstration which simulated what not to do in a kitchen fire.
“During the day we worked alongside RFS volunteers which allowed us to get a good breadth of information to the community,” he said.
Capt Couchman reiterated the fire safety message this week.
“Don’t be complacent, if you live in or near the bush you must take the time to prepare your home and prepare a bushfire survival plan.”
For bushfire preparation tips and to download a Bushfire Survival Plan, visit www.fire.nsw.gov.au or www.rfs.nsw.gov.au.
This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.