The forgotten town in bushfire catastrophe
TUCKED between Drake, Keybarbin and Malara, the remote community of Ewingar has been gutted by the Long Gully fire and seemingly forgotten about, residents say.
Resident and hall volunteer Susanne Hopfner said on Tuesday afternoon an "absolutely enormous fire storm” came out of nowhere without hardly any warning and ravaged the area.
She said the Ewingar hall was basically now a fire-strike catering team for more than 12 crews of RFS fire fighters from all over the state and volunteers were struggling to feed them.
"The hall has been a focal point for fire fighters and residents seeking support, with some staying overnight to seek shelter,” she said.
"The impacts on the community is devastating -- most people have lost something -- I lost a shed and all the contents in it, we have no power and no water at the moment.
"We need help and it's disappointing we have been forgotten about.”
She called for a more coordinated approach from all agencies who were providing support.
"This fire was worked on by fire crews since Monday and through the night,” she said.
"With more crews on Tuesday morning things might have looked different. Loads of crews came through the day after to stabilise the situation.
"Same happened a month ago when the Ewingar Volunteer Brigade we're left on their own until some time after the outbreak before receiving back up.
"We are also on the northern border of Clarence Valley Council LGA, and have very little support from our council and their emergency committee.”
She said she believed everyone in the community had been accounted for so far.
"We've got helicopters flying over still doing fire drops,” she said.
"The fire hasn't been extinguished... it's blacked out in most parts and there are some pockets that are still burning. It's currently joined up with the Busbys Flat fire, across the river, it's a massive long fire line for the fireys to fight.
"The area now looks like a moonscape with sticks that used to be trees.”
She said while they had recent carloads of donations brought to the hall, and former Prime Minister Tony Abbott visiting the fire site on Wednesday, they needed more support.
"People have lost their houses and are not insured - but these people need more help,” she said.
"We would love anyone who lives close by who hasn't been affected, who have a few hours spare to come and help out at the hall or make a donation of food or supplies.
"The hall can be a drop off point, but the phone to the hall is still down. Telecommunication is absolutely abysmal - all land lines are out and there is no mobile reception - depending on who you are with.”
Ewingar Hall is located on Ewingar North Road, Ewingar.