The Malua Bay Rural
Fire Brigade is an “urban interface” brigade made up of committed volunteers
who respond to house fires, bush fires and motor vehicle accidents
particularly in the suburban areas of Lilli Pilli, Malua Bay, Rosedale, Guerilla Bay and surrounds. We also regularly conduct
thoughtfully planned Hazard Reduction Burns to protect the community from fire, being sensitive to and to retain biodiversity in our area as well as to diminish the
impact of future bush fire threats.
The description of the brigade as an
"urban interface" brigade means that there is significant mixing
of bush land and dwellings in an urban like
environment. We also have portions of the brigade area that are larger
holdings either rural or semi rural. So we locally
have the whole array of response challenges for a rural brigade. In general terms 30% of our area is urban type.
The brigade has more than 3,600 rate assessments
in its area and this number is rapidly growing with the upsurge in subdivisions - that is potential land owners. We believe that nearly 60% of
these are absentee landowners (either infrequently used
holiday homes or rental properties). Except for two small areas (wetlands) our
area has been classified as "fire prone land" by the Council. This classification has added building standards for new or renovated homes and shows the extra challenges we will face in controlling a local fire.
FIRES of 2019/2020 In the months leading up to December 2019 fires raged along the New South Wales coast, in the south coast areas much of the fires consumed and remained confined to the heavily wooded mountain ranges and slopes. However, this gave the fires a large slow moving mass and a truly intense fire base which frequently broke out and rushed in a generally south eastern direction towards communities and the coast. The actual fire break out areas were like widening fingers of danger spreading at speed from the main fire, firstly with an unstoppable fire line punching through accompanied by major fires spreading from that. As is expected with summer fire threats the peak dangers gradually moved south. In the latter days of December the fire mass was in the mountains and hills behind Nelligan. On the morning of 31st December two columns of fire broke away from the massed fire and quickly rolled towards Batemans Bay - the major finger travelling directly toward Rosedale with the lesser finger heading directly towards Catalina. At about 10.30 am the major fire entered the Malua Bay Rural Fire Brigade area, on the way it spread out consuming farmland and decimating Mogo. In our brigade area the main front punched a line transverse line through housing estates, commercial properties and the local bowling club. While truly fortunate that no lives were lost it is estimated that over 100 residence were destroyed and over all including partial damage and other building well over 200 properties were impacted. It has and will be a long recovery for our area. Over all 65% of the brigade area was burnt out - that leaves 35% still presenting the pre fire threat levels.
At the same time and shortly after the second finger of fire rushed through the Batemans Bay industrial area and into houses and business in Batemans Bay itself.
Our brigade is trying to give our land owners a sense of who we are, what we do, the structure of the RFS, how decisions are made and
where they can get information from. Also through this we want to raise awareness
and give owners and occupiers an understanding of contemporary knowledge
about getting ready for the fire season as well as general safety issues
should a fire eventuate.
Developing a community engagement strategy is an
ongoing priority for us, in addition to this web page we put out an annual
newsletter, make community presentations, attend gathers of owners if invited, hold at least one "Get Ready Day" during each year leading up to the fire season and maintain a face book presence.
The web page is continually
being developed and we would really like your comments on whether there are
things that could be added to make it more relevant to your needs, areas that
could be expanded or simply to tell us we have hit the mark with what is on
there. Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seasonal Focused Information
There are two distinct alert seasons for the Malua Bay Rural Fire Brigade and to make this website reflect that and be fully worthwhile, no matter what season, we have established two information threads from this front page. The first and most important is the summer high risk thread where the brigade and community have to be ready to respond to open area fires very quickly. The second season thread is the winter months when we cover more urban issues locally, support other agencies, get ready for next season and help residents prepare their properties for the next fire season. Acknowledging these quite distinct seasonal differences our emphasis changes. The links to these branches are:
One of the important things you need to do primarily during the fire season but year round is to keep informed of weather conditions, emergency alerts and changing updates as they happen. We offer a cluster of websites that we have called Alert Watch to assist you to quickly assess the prevailing conditions and their impact on fire potential and intensity. These are sites that will give you up to date information on the fire situation, fire declarations, emergency announcements and a quick means to follow developing weather conditions. It is worth becoming familiar with these updates and how they change before the fire season arrives.
Have a Plan
Bush fires are a natural part of the Australian environment
and occur regularly, but many people fail to prepare for them. When
threatened by bush fires, people will often leave it too late to make
critical decisions and often have few safe options left.
The Rural Fire Service's web page has excellent information on
things you should consider, things you should do to prepare and also how to
respond to a fire situation. You can access this information through this (Link) to their site. Watch the short videos as they have really useful
information. There is more detailed information in the "summer high risk" and "winter months" threads links above.
There is a job for everybody locally in the Rural Fire Service, whether it on the fire front or critical support roles behind the scenes. Do not be put off because you do not think you can manage the physical challenges of getting in the truck. Experience in administration, radio controls or organisational matters is always being sought.
Interested in joining? you are welcome to
drop into the shed on either the 1st, 2nd or 4th Tuesday of the Month at 5pm.
Also see our "Brigade
Members" section and our "Join
Us" section by clicking on the navigation bar on the top left
hand side of this page for more details.