EASING PRESSURE: Nymboida's recovery begins
THE pressure on Nymboida locals coordinating the response to the massive fire which smashed the region last week should begin to ease from tomorrow.
Officers from the NSW Government's Office of Emergency Management have arrived in Grafton and will meet with Clarence Valley Council today to discuss the handover of the recovery.
NSW RFS community liaison officer Jonty Bruce said the OEM team would need to see where the recovery was up to and then step in to take it further.
"They will be setting up in town, I'm not sure where," Mr Bruce said.
"They will co-ordinate welfare distribution, DPI fodder drops, restoring services, water supply - all things that are happening now.
"They will come and find ways to fund that through what agencies have available to them.
"Their aim is to get things back to as close to normal as possible."
Mr Bruce said one important part of this process would also occur today when the Nymboida School reopened.
In emergencies that have occurred since the formation of the OEM on July 1, teams have set up close to the disaster scene to minimise travel for people affected by the disaster.
At a public meeting in Nymboida on Thursday, Clarence Valley Council environment, planning and community director, Des Schroder said OEM teams had gone into the field to meet residents after the Rappville fires.
But Mr Bruce said he was not sure what this OEM team had planned for Nymboida.
"They will release how they plan to run this operation when they're set up," he said.
He said teams of RFS assessors had completed building impact assessments of most buildings destroyed or damaged in the fire.
"We pretty much know the extent of the damage, but cannot release it just yet," he said.
"It has to go to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, so he can make a decision on what needs to be done from there.
The weekend also provided some small relief for local firefighters, despite the number of blazes burning here.
"We haven't had a 000 call-out last night," Mr Bruce said.
He said there had been some concerns the Banyabba fire might encroach on Pringles Way, west of Lawrence, but this had been contained with a backburn.
Social media posts from Lawrence residents revealed many had belongings packed, ready to evacuate when they saw the fire in the distance.
Mr Bruce said this was likely to have been the backburn put in place to contain the fire.
But he said there was no room for complacency as fire conditions were likely to worsen this week.
"The fire threat level now is severe and there are total fire bans in place around NSW,.
"The Bureau of Meteorology forecast conditions will worsen during the week.
"These conditions will most likely repeat over the next few weeks at least."