Risk to Tumut of Dunns Road fire is low: RFS

Hundreds turned out for today’s public meeting.

The risk to the Tumut community of the Dunns Road fire is low, a packed meeting of the Boys Club today was told.

But the vulnerable, and people who weren’t prepared to stay and defend their homes in the event of fire, should consider leaving town before tomorrow, when an extreme fire rating would be in place.

Bradley Stewart, the public liaison officer from the RFS, said the risk to Tumut was not as high as communities such as Batlow and Wondalga.

The fire is currently burning to the west of those communities, having burned 130,000 hectares.

“Obviously, the closer you get to the fire, the greater the level of risk,” he said.

“Under forecast conditions tomorrow, it will most likely break out in some areas along the eastern flank. Where that is, I can’t tell you.

“For Tumut, we are not asking you to leave. if you feel you don’t want to be here just because of the smoke, leave.

“At the moment the risk to this community is low.”

Mr Bradley said tomorrow is the peak of a four day weather cycle, with better conditions from Sunday.

There would be strong north-westerlys for much of Saturday, bringing up to 70km/h winds.

Much of the fire’s 300km front is uncontained, and there was a risk it would meet up with other blazes in the south.

He said the bigger risk to Tumut tomorrow would likely come from new ignitions, such as the one that happened recently in the town common.

“Tomorrow, we’re expecting severe fire ratings here,” he said. “If we get new ignitions, through lightning or whatever, that may pose a greater risk here than the Dunns Road fire.”

Residents were told they would be responsible for looking after themselves.

The vulnerable should consider if they needed to be in Tumut over the next 24-48 hours, including those with respiratory problems.

The RFS could not guarantee a fire truck to a property under threat. Fire runs tomorrow were inevitable from the Dunns Road fire.

“Go home, have a conversation with family, have well-defined trigger points for what you’ll do,” Mr Stewart said.

“Some will stay, if the worst case eventuates, and defend homes.

“If you wish to leave the area, Gocup Road and the Snowy Mountains Highway to Wagga are the best options.”

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack encouraged people to stay safe.

“The decisions you make today, could decide your future,” he said.

“If you don’t feel as though you can defend your home, make a decision to go.” 

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