IN a possible sign of things to come, the Narooma district and the rest of the Far South Coast sweltered under extreme heat conditions yesterday.
A fire at Brogo was impacting on a dozen properties off Warrigal Range Road, 45km from Narooma, with Rural Fire Service brigades including from Dalmeny responding from around the area.
At one point, the RFS firefighters on the fire in the Brogo area reported that the fire was crowning or leaping 30 to 40 feet above the trees.
Residents were being advised to evacuate as thick smoke impacted on the Princes Highway and the smoke was worrying residents as far away as the Murrah, south of Bermagui.
Another much bigger fire that started at Yarrabin, 12km south of Numeralla, caused smoke to billow up behind Gulaga Mountain and by mid-afternoon this fire had burned 2900 hectares.
According to Narooma RFS brigade captain, Mick Marchini this was the fire responsible for the large smoke column visible to the west.
The southerly hit late-afternoon and the Narooma district appears to have escaped unscathed from the bushfires, this time a least.
Temperatures in Narooma approached 40 degrees prior to the change, but the War Memorial clock tower temperature gauge was nothing to go by as it has been faulty for some weeks, continually reading 85 degrees.
At the Narooma and Dalmeny RFS brigade stations, volunteers were on stand-by all morning and afternoon waiting to respond instantly to any fires.
A fire engine from Dalmeny did travel down to Brogo to assist the fight.
Other precautions taken yesterday included closing down all National Parks and State Forests around the state.
National Parks and Wildlife Service regional manager Tim Shepherd said campers were being advised to pack up or leave their camps and head into town, but they could not be forcibly evacuated.
Parks staff were out in force speaking to campers and monitoring the situation, Mr Shepherd said.
Bushfire dangers were a constant threat to communities such as Mystery Bay and Potato Point, both surrounded by bushland with one road in and out.
Councillor and Potato Point resident Rob Pollock said he would like to see more hazard reduction and even clearing of bush on the edges of Potato Point.
But in the meantime, he said the community was relying on the skill and resources of the local RFS brigade.
Red Cross: Signs of heat exhaustion
Local Red Cross staff and volunteers were busy supporting members of the community who are vulnerable to the extreme heat this week.
Red Cross community engagement manager for the South Coast, Shanna Provost said that the organisation was being kept busy right across Australia providing information and support to help prevent heat exhaustion.
“Locally, we’re raising awareness of the risk of heat exhaustion providing tips to help the elderly and mothers with young babies,” she said.
“Many people don’t realise the risk of heat exhaustion until it’s too late.”
The Red Cross advises the following during these hot days:
* Drink water regularly, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol, tea, coffee and sugary/fizzy drinks as they make dehydration worse.
* Talk to your carers, family or neighbours about what help they can provide during the hotter weather such as helping you draw blinds or picking up some shopping for you.
* Talk to your family doctor about how extreme heat might affect any particular health conditions you might have.
* A damp cotton scarf or face washer on the back of your neck can help you stay cool.
* Recognise the signs and symptoms of heat stress-don’t hesitate to get help. If you feel you might be affected, call 000.”
For more Red Cross information about preparing for heatwaves, phone 1300 388 620 or to seek local support phone Shanna on 0408 205 869.
Lifesavers on duty in the heat
Volunteer lifesavers joined forces with council lifeguards on the Far South Coast yesterday to help keep people safe as temperatures soared.
In the Eurobodalla Shire, council increased the number of lifeguards on duty at some beaches, while volunteers were doing additional patrols on land and by Jet Ski (rescue water craft) in a bid to keep people safe.
Far South Coast director of lifesaving Andrew Edmunds said it was a rare move, but essential to help keep people safe.
“We had a horror drowning run last season and over the last few years,” he said.
“We’ve taken the unusual step of rostering on some volunteers during the weekdays particularly for today as temperatures and beach goers are expected to soar.”
“Traditionally we’re only required to have lifesavers on patrol on weekends and public holidays, as council lifeguards are responsible during the week.
“This season however, through proactive patrols and a bit of good luck we’ve not had any fatalities in our region. It’s a achievement we hope to sustain through the season.”
Mr Edmunds said the rescue jet ski would be patrolling drowning hot spots between Moruya Wall and McKenzies Beach.
“We’ve also got our callout teams at all seven clubs from Batemans Bay to Pambula on standby for any incidents.”
Despite the additional resources on duty today, Mr Edmunds said the best place to swim was only at patrolled beaches, in between the red and yellow flags.
“It’s going to be hot, particularly this afternoon. Make sure you stay well hydrated and use plenty of sun protection.”
To find your nearest patrol beach, visitwww.beachsafe.org.au