NSW bushfires: small rural community of uarbry all but wiped out

NSW bushfires: small rural community of uarbry all but wiped out

14 February 2017

published by http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au

AUSTRALIA –  HEARTBREAKING scenes of devastation and charred landscapes have emerged in the brutal aftermath of the fires sweeping the state.

Power poles suspended by the overhead lines, scorched and crumpled sheds and the burnt out remains of vehicles are among the images that await volunteers and returning residents.

The flames have taken a particular toll on NSW livestock, with the bodies of animals an unwelcome sight.

The region is still coming to terms with the damage and the lost livestock will be a blow to areas already comprehending the loss of homes and other structures.

Geoffrey White said his mother and father, Steven and Ruth, had lived in Uarbry since 1993.

“They’ve lost everything!” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“Ruth has been a valued member of the community, having been a guide leader for numerous years in Coolah and helping to restore the Uarbry hall and the list could go on.

“My father has worked hard as a truck driver in Tamworth for the last seventeen years… he has recently though injured himself at work and is required to have surgery on his shoulder next week and ankle soon after… they really are honest hard working people who have lost a lot.”

Mr White added: “I’m just so grateful we didn’t (lose) them yesterday too.”

“I’m hoping in this instance their resilience and strength will see them through these uncertain days ahead,” he said.

“Uarbry is gone. Completely burned to the ground from reports. Losses of homes, pets and all,” Madeline Best said.

Former resident Masha Crilly, now living in the UK, was relieved to hear her parents had escaped before it was destroyed.

“It’s awful. Loads of people have lost everything,” she told the Daily Telegraph from London

Sevent-three bush and grass fires continued to burn across the state at midday, 26 of which were still uncontained this afternoon.

An emergency evacuation warning was activated yesterday for villages in the path of the Sir Ivan fire which breached containment lines at Leadville near Dunedoo.

For residents of Uarbry, Turill and Cassilis it was too late to leave, with the RFS advising them to seek shelter.

Peter Gilmour returned to his half-acre block at 9.30pm last night to assess the damage.

He said there were only three of 12 houses left in the town, as fires continued to burn around the small village.

He said he was lucky some of his property had appeared to survive but he was waiting to see how it had survived the night.

The town hall and the church was completely obliterated by the fire.

He had taken shelter in the nearby town of Dunedoo, and was waiting for the road to reopen.

“Most neighbours have lost everything,” he said.

The fire is currently burning to the east of Dunedoo and moving north towards Black Stump Way, Leadville and Coolah.

Although conditions are easing, people in the areas of Leadville, Turill, Cassilis and Coolah are being urged to remain vigilant.


AT LEAST two houses have been lost on the mid north coast after a catastrophic fire ripped through an area west Wauchope, inland from Port Macquarie over the weekend.

The fires ripped through Pappinbarra Road at Beechwood and moved in a northerly direction.

Homes in the the areas of Hollisdale, Lower Pappinbarra and Beechwood continued to be under threat late on Sunday evening.

Although conditions eased throughout the night, the fire was still burning on Monday.

The RFS said increased humidity and decreased winds expected to give crews the upper hand as they continued to battle the blaze.

It said roads may be closed at short notice and that residents should remain vigilant and follow directions from firefighters.

Fire and Rescue Inspector Rod Chetwynd worked hard throughout the weekend to save as many homes as they could.

“Hot, dangerous and frustrating,” he wrote on Facebook.

I feel for the poor people that aren’t in their own beds up our way tonight. The crews worked very hard to save what we did but we couldn’t get to everything,” he said.

Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said 20-plus were still uncontained this morning, after blazes burnt across “a very large area” consuming everything in their path.

But cooler temperatures today, after yesterday’s catastrophic conditions, will help crews gain an upper hand.

“We know there is clearly losses. Losses in homes, losses in buildings, losses in livestock and other agricultural assets,” he told the Nine Network.

“The extraordinary effort of firefighters. What they saved yesterday will far outweigh the losses that we report today. I know that is cold comfort for those who have lost so much and I don’t mean any disrespect or being insensitive, but we cannot take away from the amount of property, people, livelihoods that have been saved under yesterday’s conditions.”

“Some volunteers fighting to save other people’s properties actually lost their own,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters at RFS headquarters in Sydney when thanking all those who’d fought the blazes.

Two firefighters required hospital treatment, Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.


Sickeningly, despite yesterday’s horrendous danger, three suspected firebugs were arrested over the weekend, accused of deliberately starting fires in Orange, Mangrove Mountain on the Central Coast and Nabiac on the north coast.

A 13-year-old boy was ­arrested over a fire in an industrial part of Orange on Saturday. A 40-year-old man was detained at the scene of the Central Coast fire early yesterday morning. And last night a 32-year-old man was be taken to Forster Police Station over the Nabiac blaze.

“It beggars beliefs that on a very hot day yesterday somebody would light a fire,” Mr Fitzsimmons said.

Despite the unprecedented dangers, there was no loss of life, no significant injuries to firefighters and limited property damage.

One member of the public was flown to hospital in Lismore late yesterday after being burned by a fire along Binalong Rd, Boggabri, in the state’s northwest, between Narrabri and Gunnedah.

But it could have been so much worse. There were 2500 firefighters deployed across the state, some Fire And Rescue, but most volunteers ready to put their lives on the line for their community.

Also ready to leap into action were more than 50 aircraft, including helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, among them water bombers borrowed from Victoria.

SINGAPORE, Feb 9 — People in Singapore are willing to cough up nearly 1 per cent of their annual income in order to guarantee the absence of transboundary haze for a year, researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have found.

In total, they are willing to pay US$643.5 million (RM2.8 billion) a year — large enough to make a “substantive impact on the problem” if used for land conservation and restoration, the researchers state in a paper published in February’s issue of the journal,Environmental Research Letters.

The paper’s authors, Yuan Lin, Lahiru Wijedasa and Dr Ryan Chisholm, wrote: “Our results indicate that Singaporeans experience sufficiently negative impacts of air pollution (in) their day-to-day life, or personal health during haze periods, that they are willing to trade off personal financial gain for improvements in air quality.”

Transboundary haze is a long-standing problem in the South-east Asian region, largely caused by the drainage of carbon-rich peatland as well as companies and farmers in Indonesia using fire to clear land.

Singapore experienced its worst haze episode in 2015 from September to November, with the Pollutant Standards Index hitting hazardous levels.

Since then, Indonesia has renewed efforts to prevent fires, although a state of emergency was declared last month in Riau province over forest and land fires.

The economic impact of haze pollution here has been estimated using cost-benefit analysis before, but the researchers said that the figures could be an under-estimate because they exclude impacts — such as non-hospitalisable health effects — that are difficult to infer from economic data.

The 2015 haze episode was estimated to have cost Singapore S$700 million (RM2.19 billion) in losses.

The NUS researchers surveyed 390 people in public areas from November 2015 to February 2016 on their willingness to pay, should the Singapore Government be able to guarantee good air quality year-round.

The participants, from various age and income groups, were given options ranging from 0.05 per cent to 5 per cent of their annual income, after they indicated if they were willing to support such a haze mitigation fund.

The average person’s willingness to pay was an estimated 0.97 per cent of his/her annual income.

However, about three in 10 respondents were unwilling to pay even the minimum option of 0.05 per cent of their annual income.

Wijedasa said that one of the solutions proposed for the haze problem is payments for ecosystem services.

“This could take the form of richer nations aiding better land management and restoration by making regular payments.

“Indonesia has estimated that it needs US$2.1 billion to help restore two million hectares of peatland in (the country). They have currently only received US$50 million from Norway and US$17 million from the United States.

“Could this shortfall be filled by Singapore (and other countries in the region)?”

Tan Yi Han, who is not involved in the study and is co-founder of non-governmental organisation People’s Movement to Stop Haze, said that the findings are helpful and “should motivate the Singapore Government to spend on measures to prevent haze, such as a subsidy on certified sustainable palm oil, as well as aid to support peat restoration and protection efforts in Indonesia”.

His organisation’s survey last year found that more than nine in 10 respondents were willing to pay more for certified sustainable products to help mitigate the haze, Tan said.

Most were willing to pay 5 to 10 per cent more.

Consumers game to chip in to avoid any haze include Steven Lim, who is in his 40s and self-employed. How much he is willing to contribute would depend on the amount needed to make an impact.

“Maybe S$10? Multiplied by many individuals, it would be a lot,” Lim said, preferring that the money goes to the Indonesian government.

– See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/money/article/singaporeans-willing-to-fork-out-1pc-of-income-to-ensure-no-more-haze#sthash.CRhWHQHj.dpuf

El capitán del primer batallón de la Unidad Militar de Emergencias (UME), Emilio Arias, ha descrito como “dantescos” los efectos del incendio forestal en el paraje natural de la Sierra de Gata (Cáceres), aunque ha sido optimista en cuanto a su extinción al darse una situación “bastante favorable” en estos momentos. Fotogalería ALCALDE 11 Fotos La Sierra de Gata, tras el incendio “El incendio se dio por estabilizado y ahora mismo sólo hay pequeños focos que se reactivan por lo que la situación es bastante adecuada para intentar extinguir el fuego”, ha explicado Arias en una entrevista en COPE. Arias ha descrito como “dantesco” el efecto del fuego en una zona “donde el terreno era precioso”. El mando único del Plan Director del Infoex decidía este lunes mantener activo el Nivel 2 de peligrosidad en el incendio de Sierra de Gata ante las previsiones de viento y altas temperaturas. Las mismas predicciones indican que habrá una mejoría a partir de las primeras horas de la noche del lunes, según ha informado la Junta de Extremadura. Más de 200 efectivos se mantienen en la zona. Intentar llegar a la normalidad es “un tanto difícil”, y que ahora hay que hacer valoraciones de los daños El incendio declarado el pasado jueves ha arrasado unas 7.500 hectáreas de alto valor agrícola, ambiental y paisajístico, de ahí que el Gobierno regional haya iniciado ya la evaluación de los daños y comenzado a preparar la recuperación de la zona. El director general de Medio Ambiente, Pedro Muñoz, ha afirmado que el incendio ha causado un “desastre” desde el punto de vista medioambiental ya que ha arrasado miles de hectáreas de pinar, olivar y pastos, además de haber producido cuantiosos daños materiales en algunas poblaciones. La asociación conservacionista SEO/Birdlife ha denunciado que el incendio afectó gravemente a especies amenazadas y a espacios protegidos de la Red Natura 2000, incluidos robledales, madroñales y castañares centenarios. Todo el área afectada es una zona ornitólogica de interés mundial. Por su parte, el alcalde de la localidad cacereña de Hoyos, Óscar Antúnez, ha alabado la participación ciudadana en el municipio para ayudar a los operarios del plan Infoex como “lo bonito dentro de la tragedia” y ha añadido que el “sentir general” de los ciudadanos de Sierra de Gata es de “frustración e indignación” tras el incendio forestal. El alcalde ha señalado que ha podido hablar con los vecinos de la localidad y que los “más afectados” son los que han perdido fincas o casas de campo, sobre todo una familia que ha perdido su domicilio de vacaciones habitual, que era una casa “recién reformada”. Asimismo, Óscar Antúnez ha indicado que intentar llegar a la normalidad es “un tanto difícil”, y que ahora hay que hacer valoraciones de los daños, tanto la Mancomunidad de Municipios de Sierra de Gata como la Junta de Extremadura, para ver qué ayudas se pueden proporcionar y de qué modo, además de cuáles serán los medios disponibles. Por último, el primer edil de Hoyos ha explicado que los vecinos, “más allá de la lamentación”, deben intentar hacer “una vida normal”, aunque ha considerado que es muy difícil “dado el paisaje que tenemos”, ya que casi el 90% del término municipal está calcinado, ha indicado.

Ver más en: http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/2532392/0/fuego/gata/dantesco/#xtor=AD-15&xts=467263

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