South Coast towns evacuated as fires flare

Australia:  South Coast towns evacuated as fires flare 

7 January 2002

Source and Copyright: The Sydney Morning Herald

By Brigid Delaney and AAP 
The towns of Cudmirrah, Berrara, Fisherman’s Paradise and Conjola on the state’s South Coast wereevacuated this afternoon as fires were fanned by strong south easterly winds. Despite last night’s rain, that brought relief to fire affected areas, imparticular the Blue Mountains, today’s hot, dry weather has exacerbated fire conditions on the South Coast. A police spokesman has confirmed several hundred residents were told to flee their homes at approximately 2pm as the fire approached. Evacuees were being moved to the Sussex Inlet RSL, which has become a makeshift accommodation centre since the bushfire crisis began. The office manager at the RSL said he was expecting 750 residents to fill the club this afternoon. Department of Community Service officials and police are still in the area following mass evacuations of south coast towns late last week. Meanwhile, a water bomber has crashed at North Head, near Moroya, in the first air accident since the fires commenced on Christmas Day. An investigation is already under way with the Rural Fire Service cautious not to speculate on the cause of the crash. “Of course water bombing is by its nature a very precarious operation. It is the first significant incident that we’ve had during this campaign having 75 aircraft involved, so obviously a very good safety record,” Mr Winter said. “The transport accident bureau are investigating, we’re assisting them so obviously it’s too early to speculate on cause.” A police spokeswoman said the plane came down about 1.40pm. The pilot escaped serious injury. 


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