Dozens of homes believed destroyed in New South Wales bushfire

Erika Holt
March 20, 2018

The town has about 1,600 residents.

"I'm glad I went", he told AAP.

The next step in tonight's meeting was the hardest, as people queued to find out if Sunday's flames had destroyed or damaged their home. The evacuation center is at Bega Showground.

RFS assessment teams have assessed 90 per cent of the fire ground.

Around 30 caravans or cabins destroyed on top of the 69 homes destroyed in Tathra.

The RFS came under fire on Tuesday after they were accused of turning down additional emergency brigades to fight the Tathra bushfire hours before homes were destroyed on Sunday.

"You can visit your street, your neighbourhood, to see for yourself the situation", Mr Reeves says.

"He called saying, 'Daddy get out, get out, ' and I had to say to him, 'I can't.... you look after your mother, I'm staying and fighting'".

People, however, won't be able to get off the bus just yet because the risks that remain.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull activated the national disaster emergency relief scheme on Monday after visiting the devastating scene.

Incident Controller, Superintendent Mark Williams felt the emotion in the room as he spoke tonight.

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The last time the area around Tathra caught fire was 1952, he said, adding the bushland was thick with tinder and waiting for a spark.

Yesterday the NSW government announced it will appoint former chief of the Victorian Country Fire Authority, Euan Ferguson, to co-ordinate support to communities hit by the fires.

"There was an urban pumper that doesn't have the safety equipment and is not designed for that area so we had already five bridgades in attendance, they were the ones dealing with that fire. that unit (Fire and Rescue) could not help".

Given the favourable conditions, Mr Williams believes containment of the fire is feasible by Wednesday morning. "That is the most important thing when it comes to a fire like this", he said from Cobden.

"We did our best to put the garden hoses on it but, but it was a bit like peeing in the wind".

Reflecting on the 398 properties saved, Mr Williams paid tribute to the work of firefighters and local residents.

Cooler weather overnight helped firefighters, but at 10am on Monday a community update from the Rural Fire Service advised the threat continues.

Air Tanker 390 makes a retardant drop near structures in Tathra, NSW.

"All I could hear while we drove off was glass breaking and gas bottles exploding", Tathra's Doug Spindler says while shaking his head.

Union official Mick Nairn said there were FRNSW resources near Tathra which could have been made quickly available in the firefighting effort.

A volunteer firefighter was injured and four civilians were treated for smoke inhalation, but no one has been reported missing so far, according to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service.

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