WITH ominous signs of a dangerous fire season ahead, the Potato Point community has scaled up its efforts to convince authorities to restore a 200-metre firebreak on the coastal community’s approaches.
Until the late 1980s, Potato Point located north of Narooma and east of Bodalla was largely surrounded by several hundred metres of grassland.
However, since the declaration of the Eurobodalla National Park in 1995 very little work has been undertaken to preserve the firebreak.
Thick forest and scrub has taken over the firebreak and now reaches the back fences of some Potato Point properties.
The Eurobodalla Bush Fire Risk Management Plan 2010 says the fire risk to Potato Point is high.
The Community Association believes that if Potato Point faced a major bushfire this year, similar to that which threatened the village in 1985, many properties and some lives could be lost.
While wanting to preserve the integrity and beauty of the Eurobodalla National Park, the community and local Rural Fire Service have pressed the National Parks and Wildlife Service to restore and maintain a buffer zone for over a decade with little success.
The community is not wanting the firebreak stripped bare. Instead, it is asking that the undergrowth and dead fuel be cleared and the tree cover thinned to establish a park-like firebreak that would be practical for firefighters to defend on the approach of a major fire.
In April this year, the Potato Point Rural Fire Service, on behalf of the Potato Point community, asked the NSW Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Robyn Parker, to restore a 200-metre firebreak around Potato Point.
In her response, Minister Parker made it clear that the community’s request would not be met.
A Potato Point Community Association has been formed to take this fight forward.
Posters and bumper stickers have been produced to raise the profile of the cause.
The community has also invited Minister Parker and the local member Andrew Constance to visit to see for themselves the severe fire-risk.
Central Tilba RFS open day
THE Rural Fire Service will hold an open day at the Central Tilba fire shed this Saturday from 11am to 2pm.
Everyone invited to meet local volunteers and have some fun.
There will be a sausage sizzle and information on many aspects of fire control and prevention.
Try rolling out fire hoses, watch the use of fire hoses, and even use one, try starting a fire pump, have a close up look at the fire trucks, booklets to assist with preparation of a Bush Fire Survival Plan.
Balloons and kids activity booklets will all be available.