South Coast fires: How Narooma clubbed together on New Year's Eve

On New Year's Eve, as fire threatened, tourists and locals began arriving at Narooma's evacuation centre in all sorts of emotional states.

The community was cut off from the rest of the coast, with no power or mobile reception and roads closed.

Councillor Lindsay Brown left his Narooma home and was one of the first to help bring order from chaos as hundreds began to roll in looking for information and direction.

The Badja Forest Fire still burns out of control and the evacuation centre remains open today, Friday, January 10.

Mr Brown said many stories has arisen from the community, some uplifting and others heartbreaking.

He praised volunteers and evacuees who helped each other, such as Kieran English, of Tilba Valley Free Range Eggs, who evacuated with his family.

Mr English brought as many eggs as he could and gave up his cool room to store food at the centre.

Mr Brown said there were countless examples of evacees helping evacuees.

When the generator was low on fuel and it was a scramble to find some, "Johnno" overheard and did not hesitate to siphon some from his car.

When the centre became jam-packed, the Narooma Golf Course was scattered with pitched tents and the club welcomed people to sleep on the floor. Staff and volunteers whipped up about 300 servings of noodles.

With thousands fleeing, Mr Brown said Club Narooma CEO Tony Casu, Mareesa Loyd and an apprentice chef jumped into action.

They cooked for more than 350 people and let people sleep on the floor.

Mr Casu said they were fed a handful of chips, gravy and a piece of "mystery meat".

"The Salvos brought us down a heap of meat from Woolies and we did about 800 breakfasts, lunches and dinners," he said.

"We were able to cook using gas."

Using the landline down the street, Mr Casu contacted disaster relief authorities to become the official overflow for the evacuation centre.

Inside the club were anxious humans, dogs, cats, birds and even two horses parked at the entrance.

Conditions throughout the week remained ominous and the fire threat forecast for Saturday, January 4, was catastrophic.

On Thursday, Mr Casu received a call that IRT residents were evacuating to the club.

"IRT staff set beds up on the floor for about 20 elderly," he said.

"The staff left to go home and defend their own properties."

Mr Casu tended to the elderly.

"I couldn't leave them," he said.

He would shine the torch in the middle of the night to light up their way to the bathroom, "so they didn't crash into each other".

After the weekend passed, Mr Casu hit exhaustion.

"I think I am working off six hours sleep," he said on Monday.

Anglicare, St Johns, Red Cross and the NSW Government Disaster Welfare team were among local volunteers who turned the leisure centre into a safe-haven.

Narooma evacuee Maggie Havu said the place was "chockers".

"I felt much safer there and knew the firies would protect us," she said.

Ms Havu brought a mattress to sleep beside her car. As she went to lie down, the rumble of thunder convinced her otherwise: "I jumped back up and slept in my car!"

She praised all the volunteers.

"It was like a hallelujah picnic!" she said.

"I couldn't be more proud of how Narooma handled it."

"Everyone was so calm and cool."

Returning home the next day, Ms Havu was so happy to see her house intact she kissed it.

"I am not religious, but I kissed the angel I hung at the front of my home," she laughed.

She acknowledged Councillor Lindsay Brown who stepped up to organise.

"I was awed by the logistics and his attitude," she said,

"He was amazing and credit is absolutely necessary where credit is due.

"He made the best of the worst situation."