I’m exhausted and smell like a bloody cigar: Now is the time to make an Emergency Fire Plan

The dam at Kathy Pollit’s place at Tabulam. Photo: Contributed

Susanna Freymark

There are no red triangles in NSW on the Fires Near Me map.

It’s a relief to see the Emergency levels turn orange and then yellow as firefighters gained control of fires burning in Tabulam and Tenterfield.

At 7am today, Thursday, November 2, there were 55 fires burning with 15 of them not yet contained.

NSW RFS said more than 350 firefighters worked overnight to strengthen containment lines on many of the large fires burning.

The Oglivie Drive fire at Tabulam has burned 3529 hectares.

Tabulam Public School remains closed today because of the fire situation. 

Crissy Bienke took this photo of the fire at Tabulam as seen from the Tabulam Bridge crossing the Clarence River.

Kathy Pollitt at Tabulam said when the fire came through her property it was “fierce and crazy and it scorched the earth up to the yard”.

“Wetting the ground around the house for hours stopped the masses of embers from taking up,” she said.

Kathy said they learned a lesson from yesterday’s fire – “ to remove close damaged  trees as they cast embers.”

She thanked the RFS crews for rescuing them.

“I’m exhausted and smell like a bloody cigar,” she said.

Helicopters filled up with water from the Clarence River and the ground and air attack on the fires saved many properties.

Bonalbo fire captain Dave Tucker showed a map of how quickly the fire can change direction and how the fire at Pagans Flat, Tabulam turned and “bolted” eastwards.

Dave Tucker’s map shows how the Pagans Flat fire at Tabulam “bolted east” and crossed the Clarence River yesterday, Wednesday, November 1.

“This should act as a reminder to make our own Fire Emergency Plan,” he said.

“Simple: When to go? Where to go? What to take? Who to tell when we leave?”

If you haven’t made a Fire Emergency Plan, sit down and do one today. 

Storms are predicted for the next week and while that may bring some welcome rain, it brings lightning too with the potential to start and reignite fires.

You’ll never regret making a plan and staying calm in a fire emergency.

Sunset over the range at Mallanganee was a strange sight as fires burned to the west. Photo: Susanna Freymark

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