Residents to fight or jump in sea if fire takes Bermagui

 

Residents in the south coast town of Bermagui are preparing to fight for their homes or jump in the sea.

The town was evacuated on Friday after the Rural Fire Service's forecast for Saturday predicted the fire that destroyed Cobargo would reach the coast.

Nervous residents, who have decided to stay, plan to defend their homes and jump into the sea if the fire cannot be kept at bay.

But, with a thick smoke covering the region from Bega to Narooma, firefighters and residents don't know where the fire front is, they have just been told it is coming.

Coolagolite resident Penny Selling is camping on the beach after evacuating her home which is 15 minutes west on the main road out of Bermagui towards Cobargo.

Penny Selling has evacuated from her home at Coolagolite which has already been hit by fire and is preparing to shelter on the beach in Bermagui as the fire continues to spread east. Picture: Gary Ramage
Penny Selling has evacuated from her home at Coolagolite which has already been hit by fire and is preparing to shelter on the beach in Bermagui as the fire continues to spread east. Picture: Gary Ramage


Her home escaped the fire that took the life of one person in Coolagolite and destroyed as many as 15 homes on Tuesday.

"We went back to our home and then RFS came and told us to evacuate again yesterday," she said.

"They told us to head towards Canberra but I am not going up the Snowy Mountain Rd and getting stuck on that.

"I am waiting here and if the fire comes I'll jump down (the beach escarpment) and cover myself in a wet woollen blanket."

Hope Lazaro, 18, arrives at the Bermagui Country Club on Saturday morning with Lewis and Jazz with the fire expected to reach Bermagui today. Picture: Gary Ramage
Hope Lazaro, 18, arrives at the Bermagui Country Club on Saturday morning with Lewis and Jazz with the fire expected to reach Bermagui today. Picture: Gary Ramage

Andrew Christie said he was sick of waiting after the town lost power, mobile phone service and utilities on Tuesday.

"I just want the fire to come now and be over or not come at all," he said.

"It is torture. The worst thing would be if it didn't come today and we were waiting for it tomorrow."

Michelle Madelis was visibly shaky after leaving her Bermagui Heights home in the bush to stay with a friend closer to the town.

"I am in two minds whether to stay or to go (towards Canberra) but I have a 15-year-old Labrador," she said.

Michelle Madelis plans on jumping in the Bermagui Country Club’s golf course pond when the fire approaches. Picture: Gary Ramage
Michelle Madelis plans on jumping in the Bermagui Country Club’s golf course pond when the fire approaches. Picture: Gary Ramage

"Am I worried? Shit yeah - our plan is to go to the pond at the golf course if it gets too bad."

Claire Wheaton and Yannis Gantner decided to stay and protect the pub after leaving their home in the bush.


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