Superintendent Toby Lindsay addresses the media at Rappville.
Superintendent Toby Lindsay addresses the media at Rappville. Marc Stapelberg

Police 'worried' about people still missing after bushfire

UPDATE, 2.50pm: NSW police hold serious concerns for a number of people who are unaccounted for after this week's devastating Rappville blaze.

Superintendent Toby Lindsay won't say how many people police are actively looking for but says the trail of destruction left by the Northern Rivers fire is sobering.

"We are worried about a number of people," he told reporters from fire ravaged Rappville, where at least 11 homes were lost in a fire storm on Tuesday.

"We always hope for the best but we've obviously got to treat it at its worst. We've seen the devastation in town. It's a very large fire and it's still active."

Meanwhile, the Public Information and Inquiry Centre (PIIC), which has been operating during the fires near Rappville, has now been closed, according to NSW Police.

The phone line was created to assist members of the public in relation to bush fire information for the Northern Rivers.

Residents who live in the impacted areas should visit the Register.Find.Reunite website ( and select 'Northern NSW Bushfires' to register their current location, if they haven't already done so.

Members of the public are reminded to delay all non-essential travel in fire affected areas.

Avoid dangers such as damaged powerlines and the possibility of asbestos in fire-damaged properties.

Monitor emergency websites and your regular media news source for updated advice and warnings. The RFS website is

Anyone requiring emergency assistance should call 000.

- with AAP


UPDATE, Wednesday, 4pm: A NUMBER of people have still not been accounted for in northern NSW bushfires which have destroyed up to 30 homes with police unable to access the fireground.

Acting police commissioner Dean Smith said the widespread nature of the fire at Rappville has made it difficult for authorities to access the fireground and put a number on how many people are unaccounted for.

"At this point in time, we're unable to fully confirm those numbers," the Acting Commissioner told a Sydney press conference.

"We do have a number of people who are unaccounted for. But we do not know what that actually looks like at this time.

"We are certainly working closely with our resources to make sure that everyone is accounted for."

The blaze ripped through the village on Tuesday afternoon while investigators are looking into if the fire was deliberately lit.

At a press conference in Casino, Richmond Police District Superintendent Toby Lindsay said there were no confirmed fatalities.

"Police, in significant numbers, and the RFS, are working with FACS and other agencies to confirm and reunite people that may have been unaccounted for, but at this stage there are no confirmed fatalities," he said.

- with AAP


Original story: RESIDENTS impacted by the Busby Flat fires are being urged to register with the Red Cross to ensure loved ones can keep in contact.

As emergency services continue to control the fire -- which has significantly impacted the townships of Rappville, Busby Flat, Coombell and Myrtle Creek, near Casino -- residents are being asked to seek shelter at the evacuation centre at St Mary's Catholic College on Canterbury Street in Casino.

Residents who live in the impacted area should visit and select 'Busby Flat Rd Fire' to register their current location.

Residents are also being asked not to return to fire-affected areas as it is currently unsafe to do so.

Residents are able to bring small domestic animals to the centre. Larger animals can be taken to the Casino Showgrounds, Summerland Way. Camp sites are available at this location.

A NSW Police spokeswoman confirmed all emergency services were on hand, including police investigators to assist with road blocks and safety measures, as road closures are in place.

For more information about road closures, visit and use extreme caution due to fallen power lines and trees.

Health warnings are also in place due to significant smoke in and around areas affected by fire. If it is safe to do so, remain indoors or seek medical assistance if required.

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