Could Coffs cope with a big bushfire?
IF the Coffs Coast was struck by a disaster on the scale of the Victorian bushfires, our local agencies stand ready to respond.
Acting team manager with the Mid North Coast Rural Fire Service Inspector Paul Norton said operations plans for bushfires were handled by the RFS through the Bushfire Management Committee, a conglomeration of all our combat and land management agencies.
This committee includes the RFS, NSW Fire Brigades, police, ambulance, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Forests NSW.
“The Local Emergency Management Committee, where the police are the lead agency, acts in a supporting role with bushfires and is also there to co-ordinate the response to other types of disasters,” Mr Norton said.
Our rescue services also undertake regular emergency drills and training to ensure they're prepared for any crisis.
When asked this week if our area could experience a devastating blaze similar to the Victorian situation, Mr Norton said it was unlikely.
“We get our weather patterns differently,” he said.
“We get rain which takes the edge off the bushfire threat. Also, our vegetation is thicker, so a fire doesn't move as fast.
“But if we have a day of 44 degree heat with nine per cent humidity and 120km/h winds from the west, a fire could go from Ulong to the coast in a couple of hours, but it's unlikely because of our wet weather pattern.
“But we could go into five years of drought and be where they (Victoria) are.”
Mr Norton said it was a never-ending question of whether or not enough hazard reduction burns were undertaken on the Coffs Coast.
“How much is too much and how much is not enough,” he said.