RFS's Matt Reeves speaks at the community meeting on Disaster Recovery for the fires, at Casino Golf Club.
RFS's Matt Reeves speaks at the community meeting on Disaster Recovery for the fires, at Casino Golf Club. Susanna Freymark

INFO: What you need to know if you are fire-affected

AT TWO community meeting about the fires, one at Rappville School and the other at the Casino Golf Club, important information was given.

Here's what you need to know if you have been affected by the fires.

RICHMOND VALLEY COUNCIL

General manger Vaughan Macdoanld said they have had a contractor cleaning water tanks all week.

A temporary waste transfer station has been set up at Rappville Showground until Sunday.

DAMAGE ASSESSMENT

NSW Public Works are assessing the damage to put a plan together for Richmond Valley Council.

Suspected asbestos areas have been cordoned off and samples sent off for testing before work goes ahead on those sites.

RURAL FIRE SERVICE

Matt Reeves from the RFS said their main job was to keep people informed of current fire status.

Busbys Flat fire was currently being controlled but was not contained.

RFS are working on strengthening containment lines given the low humidity, high wind weather conditions.

There will a lot of smoke in the next few days, he said.

The biggest risk is re-ignition and with a fire perimeter of 261km (that is the distance between Casino and the Sunshine Coast), the RFS are using aircraft with infra-red cameras to locate spot fires.

They were using bulldozers too create hard containment lines.

He urged people to call Triple Zero if they see a fire ignite.

Don't assume the RFS know about it, he said.

"We need the community's vigilance.”

RFS have community liaison people on the ground in Rappville and other areas.

GOVERNMENT AID

The federal government is giving Disaster Relief payments of $1000 per adult and $400 per child. Contact Centrelink for theses payments.

MENTAL HEALTH

The Rural Adversity Mental Health program addresses people's emotional needs after a disaster.

Coordinator Steve Carrigg said they were now based at the Rappville School.

"After a disaster any emotion is considered a normal reaction.

"After a few weeks, if your moods are up and down and you can't sleep, you may need help,” he said.

Healthy Minds is a free service where you have access to a clinical psychologist.

Call 1300 160 339 and say you are fire-affected.

DISASTER WELFARE

Peter Christie advised to talk to your insurer.

His organisation usually helped with low level income people with no insurance, he said.

Call 1800 018 444.

ANIMAL WELFARE

Local Land Services are carrying out livestock assessments with six crews on the ground including vets.

They can provide emergency fodder and water for animals as well as animal burials if required.

Call 1800 814 647.

FINANCIAL COUNSELLING

Rural Financial Counselling Service's Steve Sibley said they help farmers in general but the recent disaster has created a call for their support.

They can offer concessional loans up to $130,000 and there office is based in Casino.

Call 6662 5055.

BUSINESS SUPPORT

Business Connect Gary Wheatstone said they help affected small businesses which includes farmers.

Business Connect is a state government subsidised organisation.

Call Gary on 0408 631 801.

LEGAL AID

Legal aid if free and can help with lodging claims. Other legal issues they can assist you with are employment rights, tenancy rights and debt and credit card issues.

Call the Lismore office on 6621 2082.

HERE TO HELP

Casino Golf Club manager said they were no longer accepting donations of goods but were still running out of the canteen at Rappville Showground to distribute the goods they had. until end of Sunday.

Donations of money were best. To date $60,000 has been donated into an account set up by the golf club.

Mr Porter said they had already given out $30,000 in fuel vouchers.

They were also giving vouchers for DIY Hardware in Casino, Days Machinery, Rural Irrigation and for fencing supplies to Ellangown, Drake and Ewingar.

Call 6662 1259 for help.

FENCE FIXING

BlazeAid are setting themselves up at the Casino Showground and by the middle of next week will start going out to properties to fence the boundaries

Even though the average age of BlazeAid volunteers is 65, they have six combat trailers with chainsaws and fencing material and they mange too roll up damaged fences and put new ones up.

Register your property to have fencing help if you've been affected by the fires.

BlazeAid are also looking for local volunteers. They plan to stay in Casino for up to three months.

Call 0438 253 873 or email gilbertandjeanine@bigpond.com

POLICE PATROLS

Senior Constable David Henderson said there are police patrols at and around Rappville.

"I can conform no reports of looting,” he said.

Casino police were out there three times last night in marked and unmarked cars.

If you've lost anything at all - even a pair of things, lodge it with the police station for their register.



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