News

PM flies in to fire disaster zone to meet with victims

FOR a few frightening hours, it looked as though flames were going to breach containment lines protecting Coonabarabran on Thursday but by late morning, firefighters reassured residents their town would be safe for another day.

It was a different story for families living on the outskirts of town and near the Warrumbungle National Park where 49 properties have now been confirmed lost.

Already, farmers have confirmed more than 5000 stock are dead and 110 sheds destroyed.

Heavy smoke is preventing firefighters from accessing remote areas and NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the damage bill was expected to rise significantly in coming days.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard flew into the heart of the disaster zone on Thursday to oversee fire co-ordination and meet with those who had lost everything.

She bought with her news that families in the Coonamble, Gilgandra and Warrumbungle regions who had been impacted by the fires were eligible for immediate disaster relief payments.

Families can claim payments of $1000 for each adult and $400 for each child.

Tax deductible status will be given to all relief funds established to help families in the Coonabarabran region.

An evacuation centre at the Coonabarabran Bowling Club will remain open 24 hours as conditions deteriorate from Friday.

The 45,000ha bush fire in the Warrumbungle National Park west of Coonabarabran remains the biggest threat.

A base camp has been set up at the Coonabarabran Racecourse for about 300 firefighters who have travelled from other areas to help. Air conditioned accommodation has been provided for the volunteers and last night alone, the community had supplied 300 steaks, 250 lamb chops, 800 sausages, 300 loaves of bread and 2700 eggs to the camp kitchen.

A total fire ban will be in place across most of the state on Friday as temperatures in some regions rise above 40degrees.

A map of affected areas is available at rfs.nsw.gov.au.

Disaster relief claims can be lodged at humanservices.gov.au/disaster of by calling 180 22 66.

More information on assistance can be found at disasterassist.gov.au.

Topics:  coonabarabran, disaster, fire, julia gillard




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Tagged tiger shark Maroochy baited and killed on drum line

RESEARCH: A 3m tiger shark called Maroochy was tagged by Ocearch on February 2, 2015. Photo Ocearch

The young shark was tagged in February 2015 by Ocearch.

Avocado truck rollover on Bruce Highway

TRUCK ROLLOVER: Bruce Hwy Howard.

Driver lucky to be alive after truck crash

Fisherman says he found Spirit of 1770 first

Bundaberg fisherman Glen Watson was the first person to discover the Spirit of 1770 when he hooked up on while trawling on Friday May 20. Mr Watson shows off what was brought up on his nets after the near disaster. Photo: Craig Warhurst/News mail

Boatie tells how his vessel almost sunk in same spot

Latest deals and offers

Fisho claims he found Spirit of 1770 first

Bundaberg fisherman Glen Watson was the first person to discover the Spirit of 1770 when he hooked up on while trawling on Friday May 20. Mr Watson shows off what was brought up on his nets after the near disaster. Photo: Craig Warhurst/News mail

Bundaberg fisherman Glen Watson says he was the first person to discover the wreck...

Bennett, Langer, Thurston and others talk Cam Smith

Broncos and former QLD coach Wayne Bennett.

Broncos and former QLD coach plus past and present players talk about Cameron...

Own Sunshine Coast property? You’re about to make money

UP AND UP: Property owners are likely to win from rent and price increases but tenants and first home buyers might not be so happy. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

Good new for property owners, not so good for buyers and tenants.

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked