Fleeing the fires
Saturday, 4th January, 2020
By Emily McInerney
A former local caught up in the south-eastern Australia bushfire crisis has fled to Sydney.
Emma Clynch, who is living near Bateman’s Bay on the coast near Sydney, told the BDT yesterday her town had no power and the surrounding areas were running low on food and supplies.
“We’re at Maloney’s Beach and luckily we’ve been spared through all of this so far,” she said.
“We had no power or phones for a few days which was scary, but we have left to Sydney now.”
She said they left in the early hours of the morning to try and beat any traffic.
“We left at 4am because I knew what traffic would be like.
“But my sister and her kids spent the night on the side of the road at Ulladulla last night in the line of traffic waiting to get North.
“They’ve made it through now, but reported that there was still active fire on both sides of the highway as they went through.
“It’s devastating for the community, but today will be the next test with the strong North-Westerly winds, then Southerly winds predicted.”
Emma said she will be staying with her sister for the weekend.
“The evacuation facilities are very busy already so it’s best for us to be out of the way.
“Same with the tourists, which is why they needed people to leave before today.”
She said the tourists were causing problems, but it was harder for them if they didn’t know the area.
“When you have people who don’t know the area, and don’t have a fire plan, they can put themselves and others in danger.
“I saw a lot of Facebook posts on New Year’s Eve of people not sure what to do or where to go; which is not ideal.
“In terms of traffic, I assume most of the traffic getting out are tourists, but it’s hard to tell if many locals are actually leaving.
“The road closures have been the hardest to deal with; access in and out of the towns has been cut and reopened several times, which causes confusion.
“And with no power, many people were stranded without EFTPOS access.
“But I heard many of the fuel stations allowed people to leave their details to be charged later.
“People always come together when it’s really needed.”
Anyone looking to help those fighting the fires or those displaced from their homes can donate to the Salvation Army Bush Fire Disaster Appeal, Vinnies Bushfire Appeal, Samaritan’s Purse Disaster Relief and Fire Recovery Kits, Australian Red Cross First Aid and Emergency Support, the RSPCA and the state based brigades like the NSW Rural Fire Service.