With fires threatening homes and property throughout the Walcha district, fire fighters are coming from the other side of the country to assist. WA Department of Fire and Emergency Service’s Strike Team Charlie have travelled from Western Australia and spent the past week fighting fires in the Yarrowitch area, and commented on how they’ve found conditions to be very different to those they face in the forests in WA.
Prior to leaving Walcha, Strike Team Charlie attended Walcha’s Remembrance Day service before flying back to WA on Monday, while a new crew was being flown in to take their place.
To the east of town, Yarrowitch Showground has been transformed into a small village where those tasked with fighting the fires in the area are now based. At the time of going print, the majority of buildings that have been lost have been on Blomfield Road, and with weather conditions deteriorating, fire fighters will be on full alert for many days ahead.
“We are extremely appreciative and thankful for the efforts of the RFS team in keeping our community safe,” Walcha Council General Manager, Anne Modderno said.
To keep up-to-date visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au and for road closures go to www.livetraffic.com. The Oxley Highway between Walcha and Port Macquarie, which has been closed over two weeks, is still closed and it is unclear when it may be reopened.
Assistance for those impacted
Within hours of the fire impacting the community, local businesses had shown their generosity.
“Our community has an excellent reputation for banding together and supporting each other in times of need,” Mayor, Eric Noakes said.
Council has established a community donation and support post at Walcha Central School for those impacted by the fires and have been inundated. The Council have advised that no more donations of goods are required at this stage, but are accepting monetary donations. The post is open from 9am – 12pm daily, until further notice, but those who need donated goods or services outside these times can call Council on 6774 2500.
The Department of Human Services Agency at the Walcha Telecottage have also assisted many affected by the fires to claim the Disaster Recovery Payment. This provides $1000 for eligible adults and $400 for eligible children for those whose homes have been severely damaged or destroyed, or who have been seriously injured.