RFS UPDATE: Latest news on Clarence Valley fires from RFS
AS FIRES continued to burn throughout the Clarence Valley, the latest update from the RFS is a simple message.
Public Liason officer RFS Clarence Valley Jonty Bruce said that they are encouraging people to take notice of warnings, be vigilant and if they were not prepared for the fire, leave early.
"Our key message is that people need to remain vigilant,” he said. "It's not over, we have very highs showing through to Tuesday, and people need to know what to do if threatened.
"If there is a fire nearby and they are not prepared, consider leaving.”
Mr Bruce said that the tragic death of two people in Glen Innes from fires, one found hiding in their car emphasises the message that if people aren't properly prepared, it can be too late to leave if they don't follow the warnings.
"If you're not comfortable, they need to leave early. The last thing we need is people on the road when it's too late to leave.”
An evacuation centre is located at Headspace, at 59 Duke St Grafton which was manned 24/7, and people could go there for fire information.
Mr Bruce updated the situation on two major firefronts within the Clarence Valley and said that the fires on Old Glen Innes Road and Liberation road had joined, and had impacts on Nymboida.
"That fire is now past Nymboida and heading in a north-easterly direction towards Coutts Crossing,” he said.
"We sent out an alert at 9.10pm last night warning people in the vicinity that if they weren't prepared they should evacuate.
Despite the move, there is still significant fire activity around Nymboida and Frickers Road, Glens Creek road, Armidale Road and Kangaroo Creek Road.
"While the main fire front we believe has passed Frickers and Glens Creek road, there is still significant activity throughout the area.
"We aren't allowing anyone back into Nymboida. We understand there's a lot of people who stayed with their properties, and we have crew to support the locals and the situation out there.”
Mr Bruce said the fire didn't travel as far as expected last night, and it was their understanding it had not hit Clearview Road, and was burning on the southwest side of the Shannon Creek Dam.
"However, we've got strong winds expected after lunchtime, and there's a good chance the fire will progress towards Coutts Crossing and the south-western side of South Grafton,” he said.
"People can expect to see a lot of smoke in the area and that will increase as the fires get closer.
"There wil also be ash and embers in the South Grafton and Coutts Crossing areas.”
Mr Bruce said that while they were aware of reports on social media that there had been losses, including the iconic Nymboida Canoe Centre, the RFS was working with assessment teams to confirm exact reports, and didn't want to panic people who may still be in the area unnecessarily.
When the damages were confirmed they would update the community on the impact.
In the other significant firefronts, the fire at Muck Creek took a run last night to the east, impacting on the western side of Glenreagh, with more unconfirmed reports of property losses in the area.
"That fire will also be affected by the south-westerly winds and moving towards the Orara Way.
"Just how far that fire travels today we're unsure, but we are expecting an increase in the fire activity.”
Mr Bruce said that for people who weren't immediately affected by the fire, and were unsure of what preparations to make, to head the RFS website, and find the fire response template and figure out what to do in case of an emergency.
People were urged to keep track of the latest fire information through the RFS website at https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/, or through the bushfire information line on 1800 679 737.