19 December 2018
Do you have a plan?
It’s a question we are hearing asked more and more regarding the danger bushfires pose and being prepared, but can you and your family honestly say yes?
As we end a year in which the danger, destruction and reality of bushfires has been clear for all to see and left an indelible mark on our community, Council is joining with the Rural Fire Service in urging everyone to get organised.
It was this simple yet vital message that the Far South Coast Rural Fire Service Superintendent, John Cullen, stressed in his address to Councillors last Wednesday.
As we move into summer Mr Cullen said that while the recent rain was certainly welcome, the seasonal conditions remained very concerning, citing an estimated 200mm deficiency in soil moisture levels.
“To be very clear the bush will absolutely burn at present and everyone needs to be acutely aware of this fact,” Mr Cullen said.
“We (the Rural Fire Service) are ready to deal with any incidents – the service is fully staffed, our volunteers (including 70 that are newly inducted) are trained up and we are fortunate to have a strong fleet of appliances, but we need the community to do their part too.
“Know your risk, be prepared and stay informed.
“Importantly we need people to be aware of the fire danger ratings and adjust their activities accordingly,” Mr Cullen said.
Highlighting Mr Cullen’s concern that some people simply weren’t getting the message is the fact that during the recent Yankees Gap Fire, there was an average of five calls for assistance from property owners each day across the Shire to control burn offs that had become out of control.
Activities including slashing and welding have also caused significant issues.
Bega Valley Shire Council Mayor, Cr Kristy McBain, said that it was disappointing that despite the tireless work of the RFS to educate the public, there was still some apathy out there.
“We are fortunate to live in such a wonderful part of the country, however as we all know being surrounded by bushland brings inherent dangers as well,” Cr McBain said.
“Take the time to put a bushfire plan in place, find out where your nearest neighbourhood safer place is and whether it is through the various forms of media or other means, stay informed,” Cr McBain said.
“Knowledge is power and you owe it to yourself and your family to be prepared and stay up to date.”
The Rural Fire Service website contains a plethora of valuable information, head to www.rfs.nsw.gov.au.
Photograph: The Rural Fire Service and Council are calling on the community to be prepared for another challenging bushfire season, with soil moisture levels still low despite the recent rainfall. Photo courtesy of the Rural Fire Service.