Batlow residents prepare to defend homes, as emergency level in place

Aircraft work to slow the fire after it crossed Old Tumbarumba Road near Batlow this afternoon.

A number of residents have indicated they intend to remain in Batlow, despite warnings the town would be ‘undefendable’ from fire tomorrow.

An emergency alert went out for residents this afternoon, after the fire crossed Old Tumbarumba Road, about three kilometres west of the town.

Thick smoke had suppressed fire yesterday and this morning, but it came to life again this afternoon.

Conditions are forecast to deteriorate tomorrow.

Charlie Vanderland is among those staying to defend his home.

The 64-year-old Hyne employee has undertaken preparations at two places.

This morning he finished preparations at a backpackers hostel he runs, from the Old Forestry Office, and now plans to take shelter at his Nellis St home as the fire approaches.

The fire swept past Old Tumbarumba Road, a trigger point for an emergency warning for Batlow

Mr Vanderland this morning said he has sprinkler systems in place and has cleared his home of rubbish, plugged downpipes, has fire extinguishers, and a couple of fire blankets.

“We got out all 24 backpackers we had, which is good,” Mr Vanderland said.

“This morning I went over all my preparations, check and re-checking, making sure I haven’t missed anything.

“I have concrete walls at my house. I’ll take shelter when it comes, if I need to.”

Mr Vanderland’s wife is in Wagga with his children.

“Being by myself, I can make split decision when I need to without worrying about anyone else. The kids are worried of course, everyone is. But I think I’ll be alright if I stay where I am.”

Mr Vanderland said there were a number of others that had indicated they’ll stay Saturday.

Helicopter water-bombing on Old Tumbarumba Road.