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RFS: be prepared

RFS public liaison officer Peter Jones reiterated calls for residents to be prepared ahead of worsening fire conditions tomorrow, while making clear the RFS had not made any evacuation orders.

The only evacuation order in place is for the Kosciuszko National Park.

Most of Batlow left the apple town yesterday after the RFS declared Batlow and Wondalga a leave area.

A number of residents remain and have indicated they’ll stay to defend their homes.

“There’s no evacuation order anywhere,” Mr Jones told Sounds of the Mountains this morning. “But there’s the potential for some areas like Batlow and Wondalga to be impacted, which is why a number of relocations are occurring.

“It’s about leaving now. Now’s your chance ahead of the weather. If you stay and defend your home, you need to be prepared for that. If you’re not prepared, you really need to think about going now.”

Active fire in the Greenhills State Forest to the west of Old Tumbarumba Road has the potential to impact Batlow, Mr Jones said.

In announcing the leave order yesterday, the RFS said fire was likely to impact the town from Friday afternoon, and that the township would not be defendable.

Weather conditions are likely to be as bad, or worse, than new year’s eve, when the Dunns Road Fire went on a long run from Ellerslie to past Tumbarumba, impacting homes and properties, as well as pine plantations.

The forecast suggests there’ll be some reprieve Sunday and Monday, and the potential for some rain.

Mr Jones said people in the Gilmore Valley had the potential to be impacted by fire tomorrow, and suggested today would be the best day to leave.

Mr Jones said people in Tumut need to be prepared, but that he was “reasonably comfortable” that Tumut would not be impacted tomorrow.

“People on the western side of Tumut, near the forested areas, they’re the people who potentially need to decide if their houses are defendable,” Mr Jones said.

There was the potential for fire impacts today around Batlow and Wondalga. 

He urged people in those areas, as well as Talbingo – where the fire is burning to the west – to be prepared for emergency alerts.

There’ll be public meetings in Tumut (Boys Club Hall, 10.30am) and Talbingo (1pm, Country Club).