Friday's fire activity expected to increase in afternoon on Far South Coast

An incredible view from the Kiah River Cabins sent in by Rachel Rankin earlier in January.
An incredible view from the Kiah River Cabins sent in by Rachel Rankin earlier in January.

So far Friday has played out "pretty much as expected", according to NSW Rural Fire Service's Marty Webster.

Speaking at Bega Valley Shire Council's midday update on the bushfire emergency, he said conditions for Friday, January 10, so far "aren't too bad" on the shire's coastal strip although north-easterly winds were starting to pick up, but as these winds tended to have moisture with them they were not quite as problematic.

While conditions were still not too bad in southern regions such as Burragate, he said residents would likely to see conditions deteriorate there as the day goes on.

"We're not getting much report of fire activity increasing yet, but again this is all running pretty much to forecast," Mr Webster said.

Fire Spread Prediction for Friday 10 January 2020 - Southern Coast. Image: NSW RFS/Facebook

Fire Spread Prediction for Friday 10 January 2020 - Southern Coast. Image: NSW RFS/Facebook

"We expect that the fire activity will pick up in the afternoon and we are quite concerned about how that southerly is going to play out.

"So that's how we're basing our resourcing, that's how we've got our crews prepared and we want residents to be prepared for that eventuality as well."

He said some "fantastic rainfall" in some areas has helped keep the shire's fires quiet in recent days, but Friday's heat meant it was likely to see some of that moisture disappear out of the environment and "things just start to increase a little bit again".

Communities that need to take extra care on the day included Burragate, Towamba and their surrounding areas.

Mr Webster said bulldozers had been working in those communities identifying key assets, a bus run had picked up anyone with issues getting out of their properties and the RFS had strike teams there ready to go.

He was feeling "fairly confident" about the Wyndham fire and said it was lower than other fires in terms of risk, but also said the RFS would not be taking their eyes off it.

He said there was a concern about the western edge of the Werri Berri fire outside Bemboka developing over the course of the day, which would be associated with north-westerly winds.

When it came to the Badja Forest Road fire he said fortunately the active edge of the fire was not particularly active and had been impacted by the north-easter so had remained quiet.

But council's Ian Campbell said the fire continued to burn on Mumbulla Mountain.

The "trigger point" Mr Webster is working on is any sudden increase on the north-westerly winds and for the southern communities the southern change.

He advised people to monitor how the front comes through places like Mallacoota to get an idea of how it will impact the region.

Mr Campbell said while the final count was still being assessed, about 130 homes had been lost in the Bega Valley so far due to the disaster.

Evacuation Centres:

Eden

Relief and evacuation support is stationed at the Eden Cricket Ground including the provision of first aid by Australian Defence Force Personnel. However, they said they were not a replacement for primary care (doctor / hospital).

Merimbula

Club Sapphire Merimbula, the Merimbula RSL Club and Tura Beach Country Club are currently on standby as evacuation centres for the southern reaches of the Far South Coast.

However, there are currently no evacuation alerts and those sites are currently still open for regular trade.

A spokeswoman for Club Sapphire said they were prepared to open the doors, but would be doing so only if required as per council and RFS updates.

Bega

The Bega Showgrounds remains the primary evacuation centre for Bega. If you are asked to evacuate you will be able to register at the grounds with first aid and veterinary services available. Other areas will open in Bega if required, but anyone who is asked to evacuate should register at the Showground where you may be directed to another site for refuge.



This story Friday's fire activity expected to increase in afternoon on Far South Coast first appeared on Bega District News.

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