'We're fortunate we can still hold and talk to each other'
AFTER 18 days and nights of fierce and uncontrollable flames, the Rural Fire Service has declared the Long Gully Road Fire to be finally contained.
The fire which surrounded the tiny village of Drake scorched nearly 65,000ha within a perimeter of 248km and claimed 21 homes and numerous outbuildings, was finally declared contained at 11am on Monday.
Since September 5, the heroic efforts of fire-fighters from the Northern Rivers have been supported by out-of-area strike teams.
RFS Inspector Ben Shepherd said the fire has been devastating, and although it is currently contained, the hard work is not over yet.
"This fire has burnt more than 64,700ha and fire-fighters will continue to patrol containment lines over the coming days and continue to black out and mop up any hotspots," he said.
"This fire has been devastating but while homes were lost thank goodness there was no loss of life, we are fortunate we can still hold and talk to each other."
Insp. Shepherd said the work of the amazing men and women firefighters meant they overcame many hazards including uncontrollable fires, toxic smoke, narrow roads and falling trees to save lives and property and the Northern Rivers community will be forever grateful.
"This community has seen two significant fire in seven months," he said.
"We need to ensure everyone remains vigilant and prepared as there is the risk of a long and protracted fire season ahead and they may be called on over the coming weeks in our region or for a strike team across the state."
The RFS was also supported by efforts from other emergency services and agencies including Fire & Rescue NSW, the State Emergency Service, Ambulance NSW, NSW Police, Australian Red Cross, government organisations including the Department of Justice and Roads & Maritime Services, local councils and community organisations.
RFS Advice - Monitor conditions in your area.
- Check and follow your Bush Fire Survival Plan.
- If you do not have a plan, decide what you will do if the situation changes.
- Leaving early is your safest option.
- A Disaster Assistance Point will be open at Drake Information Centre, Fairfield Street, Drake, Monday to Wednesday between 9am and 4pm.
- Tenterfield Disaster Assistance centre is now closed.
- Fodder collection is now available at Tenterfield Showground and Tabulam Rural Store.
- Rural Resilience staff are working with many agencies in recovery and providing pastoral care and emotional support to farmers
If your life is at risk, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.
Continue to stay up to date with the bush fire situation by checking http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au, listening to your local radio station or by calling the NSW RFS Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737.
For information on road closures, check http://livetraffic.rta.nsw.gov.au.
Roads may be closed without warning.