Community meeting at Yass

Around 300 people packed out the Memorial Hall at Yass to find out from the officials what exactly is going on. 

Authorities stressed that there is no direct threat to Yass town at the moment. They have a number of plans in place if the fire does move this way.

If you need to evacuate you will get a message on your mobile and home phone. Police and SES will aim to door knock to get the message out too.

The authorities stressed that evacuation is a last resort and the town was a long way off that happening. They couldn’t tell anyone a specific evacuation point because they won’t know which is safest until the time comes. Those evacuated will be told which evacuation centre to go to.

The RFS has said strike teams are coming in from outside the area to relive crews that have been working around the clock. Some volunteers and property owners would have had no sleep the last few days.

Listen to the radio: another major message. ABC and Yass FM will have any emergency broadcasts.

Conditions: the fire is currently at Devil’s Gap and they are working to get it under control (using back burning/grading) along the river’s edge. These next few days are crucial for getting it under control because there is a hot day predicted for Saturday. Stay away from out there unless, obviously, you live there or are putting out fires. Sticky-beakers are not welcome.

What can you do to help if you aren’t a firefighter? District emergency management officer Paul Lloyd said mainly to pass on the information you hear (from official sources). He also said to offer support and really just say thanks to anyone helping at the scene. David Rowe at council said if you have any special skills or something you think you can offer, call council and they will pass your details onto the right authority. RFS said they've got the food covered at Bookham.

Ambulance: Mark Gibbs from the ambulance service said to look after yourself and your elderly neighbours. Keep hydrated and keep an eye out for vulnerable people. They have a support crew (additional to usual teams in town) at Bookham watching over the firies. No major injuries at the moment.

Yass Hospital’s Liz Darmody said there is a doctor on 24/7 at the hospital (and will be until March). They are ready for what could come this way, they've enacted their ‘rural fire action plan’.

Animals: the LHPA and Department of Primary Industries have vets and other officers out cleaning up the mess. They are checking on animals and putting down stock that cannot be helped. They are also burying stock. Jane Baker was in the audience and advised people to call Wildcare if they want a speedy response to sick animals. Call on 6299 1966.

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