Not about blame for fires, more about capacity building
AS the Border Trail fire continues to threaten communities from Woodenbong to Grevillia, Kyogle Council have been busy providing support.
Council's general manager Graham Kennett said they were working closely with all agencies to support the efforts of the RFS and the community with strong leadership from the NSW Police through the regional Emergency Operations Centre in Casino.
"The current focus is on keeping everyone safe as the fires continue to move through the area,” Mr Kennett said.
"These fires are expected to continuing burning for some time, and there is a need to keep people informed of the situation as it continues to change, and to ensure they remain vigilant and alert.
"At the same time, there are concerted efforts to ensure that people are not given reason to panic through distribution of false or misleading information.”
The council is assisting the RFS with provision of water trucks and graders and the management of road closures.
"Local contractors such as MJ Smith are also heavily involved in assisting the RFS with efforts at the fire front around Woodenbong, and community group are assisting with operations in evacuation centres in Kyogle and with Bonalbo on standby in case it is needed,” Mr Kennett said.
"Many of those affected by the fires have left early and are being supported by friends and family, as well as through the welfare agencies and their hard working volunteers.”
There has been a number of donations of non-perishable foods to help feed those on the front line, and at this stage there is no call for further donations.
"When further donations are needed, there will be formal coordinated call out to the community with information on what is needed and how to donate.”
The fires we are seeing now are quite intense, due to high fuel loads in the National Parks and State Forests, Mr Kennett said.
"These types of fires were what the community had long expressed concern about, but hoped would never happen.”
"Raising these concerns again now is not about blaming anyone within these organisations, but more about trying to support them to advocate for increased funding and resources to ensure they have the capacity to better manage the fire risks associated with these public lands in the future.
"This is a discussion that needs to be had after the immediate threat of these fires has past to ensure that we don't end up with these conditions again in the future.
"The community want to make sure that their voices are heard by those who have the ability to make the changes they have long been calling for.”