Fire advice for Coffs and Bellingen

Anton and Kev from the North Bellingen RFS outside Kombu

Anton and Kev from the North Bellingen RFS outside Kombu

In the first half hour of running their fire advice stall outside Kombu this morning, Anton Juodvalkis and Kevin Doye from North Bellingen RFS fielded questions from about 40 people.

Both firefighters were emphasising the importance of having a plan for where to go if an emergency situation arises tomorrow, when extreme fire danger weather is forecast, and also of monitoring information from Fires Near Me.

Currently Fires Near Me shows a huge fire to the north of Bellingen called Liberation Trail, which is an amalgamation of multiple fires that have joined up and are burning in multiple directions towards towards Glenreagh, Nana Glen and Coutts Crossing.

Liberation Trail - shown at the top of the following map - is more than 135,000 hectares in size and is out of control.

Liberation Trail (top of map) has extended towards the Coffs Coast while Kian Rd (bottom of map) is burning to the south of us

Liberation Trail (top of map) has extended towards the Coffs Coast while Kian Rd (bottom of map) is burning to the south of us

Strong winds expected from the northwest on Tuesday could send the Liberation Trail fire southeast towards the Coffs Harbour area and potentially towards Bellingen Shire too, while the southerly expected later in the day could potentially push the Kian Rd fire currently west of Macksville towards us.

The RFS volunteers are expecting to man their stall outside Kombu for most of today, and the Fire and Rescue NSW station in Bellingen will set themselves up outside the library today from 4pm to 6pm to answer questions and help you with your fire survival plan.

NSW RFS released the following community information newsletter for Coffs and Bellingen this morning.

Information on dangerous fire and conditions in the Nana Glen, Lowanna, Ulong, Megan/Cascade, Coramba, Karangi, Orara, Bucca & greater Coffs Harbour area

Issued at 11 November at 9am

Tuesday will be a dangerous day.

There is significant fire activity to the north and west of Nana Glen, Lowanna, Ulong and Megan/Cascade. The fire is known as the Liberation Trail fire, is currently more than 135,000 hectares in size, and is out of control.

Coffs Harbour & Bellingen Local Government Areas are forecast to have EXTREME Fire Danger on Tuesday 12th November. Fire in these conditions will travel in a southerly to easterly direction under the influence of strong winds. Smoke and embers will impact areas well ahead of the fires. Spot fires can occur over 5km ahead of the main fire under these conditions.

Under these conditions lives and homes will be at risk. Homes will be undefendable and resources will be stretched. A fire truck may not be able to respond to your 000 call. You need to start taking action NOW.

Advice

  • Leave early. It is the only safe option. Plan to leave on Monday night.
  • If you live west of the Pacific Highway, on Tuesday you should be relocated east of the Pacific Highway.
  • Residents in the areas of Nana Glen, Lowanna, Ulong, Megan/Cascade, Coramba, Orara, Karangi, Bucca, Bundagen, Repton (including all outlying areas) should self-relocate to an urban area (Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga, Sawtell, Bellingen, Dorrigo) or to a location east of the Pacific Highway.
  • There is a high risk the fire that the fires could impact on urban areas across both Coffs and Bellingen local government areas.
  • If you don't leave early, you may be advised that it is too late to leave.
  • If the fire impacts on your property, seek shelter to protect yourself from the heat of the fire.

Information

  • Updates on this fire are also available at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au or by calling call 1800 NSW RFS (1800 679 737).
  • Find out the latest Fire Danger Rating in your area at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au or by calling 1800 NSW RFS (1800 679 737).
  • For information on road conditions or closures, please call the NSW RTA on 131 700 or check www.rta.nsw.gov.au. Remember roads may be closed without warning.
  • For information on closures of National Parks associated with this fire, please visit www.npws.nsw.gov.au
  • If you need to report a new fire or require urgent assistance, dial Triple Zero (000).

Authorised by Superintendent Sean McArdle, Coffs Harbour Fire Control Centre.

The NSW RFS guide to preparing a Bushfire Survival Plan can be downloaded here.

Free Green Waste Disposal - Hazard Reduction

During this fire danger period, Council would like to encourage all Bellingen Shire residents to clean up and clear all excess garden waste from their property and land.

To assist with this clean up, Bellingen Shire Council will be offering free green waste disposal for residential garden waste at the Raleigh and Dorrigo Waste Management Centres from 11 Nov to 25 Nov 2019.

This includes grass, branches, leaves and small trees. All green waste must be free from contaminants such as weeds and general waste, large logs and stumps will be charged at standard rates.