4 January 2020

URGENT plea from authorities for anyone from Bermagui to Bemboka to leave now

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Please leave Bermagui and Mogareeka urgently. Photo: Facebook.

The following is an urgent message from the Bega Valley Emergency Operations Centre for people still in Bermagui and north of Mogareeka and anyone who has contacts there:

We have grave concerns for the lives of people still in Bermagui and north of Mogareeka. Your life is at risk. You need to leave now. If you have friends and family in this area and can make contact with them – please implore them to leave now.

Bush fire conditions will start to deteriorate from mid-morning Saturday, push into Saturday night and into Sunday and be felt at different times across the Bega Valley. Temperatures on Saturday are forecast to be in the low 40s, winds will strengthen and come in from different directions during the day.

The worsening conditions will first start to be felt in northern parts of the Bega Valley, and in southern parts late Saturday and into Sunday. Local fire officials have some very clear and stark advice. They will not be engaging in active firefighting, their focus will be on saving lives, including their own.

For that reason people in the following locations are being asked to leave now – people still at Bermagui and north of Mogareeka, communities north-west of Bega – places like Bemboka, Brogo, Coopers Gully, Angledale. There is a significant risk to people still in these areas.

It is also strongly recommended that the following communities consider leaving now – Tathra, Kalaru, and communities to the south and west of Eden – places like Wonboyn, Kiah, and Towamba. Please don’t put our emergency services and your loved ones at risk – leave now, make yourself and your community safe while roads are open and conditions allow you to travel.

It is a very real possibility that communications and power will be lost, roads will be closed, and emergency services pulled from the field for their own safety. You could be very isolated and on your own – for an extended period of time. Now is the time to leave.

People should head towards Bega Showground and Club Sapphire in Merimbula. An evacuation centre is also being established at the Eden Fishermen’s Club. Contingencies are in place as these places fill and reach capacity. If your intention was to move to a Neighbourhood Safer Place – given the forecast conditions these places are no longer considered safer.

Come together as a community, please don’t stretch our resources, come together at Bega and Merimbula and we will face this together, with the wagons circled around us.

Up to the minute information about road closures is available at livetraffic.com.

The community is also reminded that the Public Information and Inquiry Centre is open to assist members of the public in relation to bush fire information for these areas. Call 1800 227 228.

Information specifically relating to the bushfires can be obtained by contacting the Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 679 737 or online via the Rural Fire Service website.

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