THE NSW Rural Fire Service has stood by its comments more residents in Henty should have had a bushfire survival plan ahead of last week’s fire conditions, rated the worst since Black Saturday.
As an example of what people should be doing, it has pointed to another community well prepared for a fast-approaching blaze.
Splitters Creek, nestled amid grass and bushland west of Albury, jointly shares the title of worst fire danger area in NSW — mainly because there is only one major road in and out of the locality.
Residents simply have to be prepared.
Emails and text messages are sent out to residents to keep them up to date with conditions and forecasts.
Splitters Creek brigade captain Ian Avage said when news came last week of an extreme fire risk day, most residents of the community knew what to do.
“People did ring and say they’re getting the messages, they have their bushfire survival plan in place and they did activate them on Tuesday,” he said.
“And that could be as simple as packing up and leaving.
“Others rang up and said they were staying but felt that they were prepared to fight it.”
Mr Avage said those on holiday away from the Border also called and asked him to go to their homes and turn on their generator-powered home firefighting systems.
NSW Rural Fire Service Inspector Marg Wehner is regularly invited to Splitters Creek to educate residents about how to better prepare themselves.
Insp Wehner said that while Splitters Creek was vastly more fire prone than many other areas on the Border, the message was the same as it should be in any town — “make a plan”.
“You don’t have time to make considered decisions; that was the problem with Henty,” she said.
“You’ve got a fire that is potentially 30 minutes from the town and by the time the warning goes out you’ve got 15 minutes.”