Emotions ran high as Labor politicians visited fire impacted residents at Nimbin today.
Emotions ran high as Labor politicians visited fire impacted residents at Nimbin today. Marc Stapelberg

'We are frightened': Woman slams govt for lack of support

UPDATE, 1pm: "OUR homes are burning."

A woman who spoke at the Nimbin Town Hall meeting on Sunday regarding her concerns about the Mt Nardi fires has interrupted a media conference with Labor leader Anthony Albanese at Nimbin today.

Ginger O'Brien, 30, who lives on Upper Tuntable Falls Rd, was scathing in her assessment of politicians from all sides of the spectrum, in regards to their support for RFS and rural communities.

"My partner is out there trying to save our home our parents' home," she said.

"We are frightened for them and the government is not supporting the firefighters."

Ms O'Brien said she evacuated to the Nimbin Showgrounds with her children.

With tears slowly rolling down her cheeks, Ms O'Brien said: "All the firefighters' partners are here, their children are here, we are all waiting by the phones and we are all frightened for them," said said.

"Before we left I spent four hours on the roof fixing sprinklers and then we couldn't use them as the water has run out due to pumping.

"He (Mr Albanese) is not giving any clear answers.

"There's not even a fire in Sydney and all the big planes have been taken away."


UPDATE, 11.32am: IT'S hot, dry and dusty at the Nimbin Showgrounds, but's it's also a safe haven for those who have evacuated from Tuntable Falls and Terania,

In the nearby oval, a chestnut horse ambles and half-heartedly chews some dry leaves.

Inside a range of government agencies including Disaster Welfare as well as community organisations including Anglicare and St John Ambulance also have a presence.

Showgrounds manager Paul Gibbons is busy doing his best to ensure that everyone who has evacuated from their property is comfortable.

He said the Salvation Army are also providing meals.

Meanwhile, media gather in anticipation of a visit from Labor leader Anthony Albanese, who is due to arrive shortly before noon today.

There's concern that his helicopter will land on the Showgrounds oval and scare the horses.

"Why is Albanese coming to Nimbin?," a person who asked not to be named asked.

The answer from someone standing nearby is not able to be published in this newspaper.


UPDATE, 10.50am: SMOKE is billowing from the area of Mt Nardi above Tuntable Falls.

The smoke's speed shows that the wind is picking up and is causing drivers along the Tuntable Creek Rd to stop and stare.

One woman said she had flown in from Cairns to see if her property was okay.

"I've taken all the photos of the kids growing up and a few paintings," she said.

"I've prepared my house but I'm not going to die for a few bits of wood."

Meanwhile, the Rural Fire Service said they have crews in the area.

More to come.


Original story: IT'S EERILY quiet on roads as heavy smoke slowly rolls down Mt Nardi towards the communities of Ternaia, Tuntable and The Channon.

On Monday eight Rural Fire Service fire trucks were in the area, carrying crews on their never-ending patrols, while a NSW Police 4WD slowly rolled along, officers undertaking checks to ensure residents know that now, right now, is the time to get out ahead of Tuesday's catastrophic conditions.

On Newtown Road on the way up to Mt Nardi, shortly before the lower of the two towers, evidence in the form of a pinky-red retardant shows where RFS air support has been fire-bombing to save precious communications infrastructure.

On Monday afternoon, the RFS crew from Hanging Rock gave a wave as they also check properties on the steep single lane road.

Overhead, an ugly sun burns orange through the smoke, there's no sign of wildlife, it's as if every bird, insect and reptile has literally gone to ground.

Along Upper Tuntable Falls Rd, Essential Energy crews were also hard at work.

Chris and Melanie Quinn from The Channon Store said their phone had been kept busy with people calling from out of town to check on friends and family in the village.

They said "Monday was manic," but today was much quieter.

Many residents have been using the store as a communications hub as they try to find out what is going on with friends and relations.

While they were monitoring RFS and other emergency services media, it was still hard to know what's going, they said.

Mr Quinn said he expected things to get worse when the winds get up.

The Channon Showgrounds are deserted but the smell of smoke is definitely stronger.

And unlike yesterday, there's plenty of birdsong.

It hot now and well on it way to hitting the late 30s.

While it seems benign now, the Bureau of Meteorology said it's not going to last.

The BoM is predicting winds to increase, gusting northerly 15 to 20 km/h tending north-west to north-easterly 20 to 35 km/h in the late morning and afternoon.. with daytime maximum temperatures 33 to 39.

BoM also reports that a cold front will move through southern and western New South Wales today, continuing through to the northeast overnight or early Wednesday.

Hot, dry and gusty west to northwesterly winds ahead of the front will generate very dangerous fire weather conditions over a broad area of the state. On Wednesday, a high pressure ridge is forecast to develop in the wake of the front and should remain dominant until another, weaker, cold front arrives later Friday or Saturday.

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