NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian came to Bega under “devastating circumstances” on Monday alongside NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons and Member for Bega Andrew Constance.
“Many people will be without homes and without belongings and I want to reiterate to them that our thoughts and prayers and will them and we will support them,” she said at the Bega Fire Control Centre.
Ms Berejiklian announced the affected Tathra region and surrounds would be officially declared a disaster recovery scene by the government, fast-tracking support to the community and services on hand.
Euan Ferguson has been appointed recovery coordinator for the Tathra fire, giving him responsibilities across agencies and reporting to the government on an hourly basis to communicate the needs of the recovery effort.
Mr Ferguson has more than 40 years’ experience in emergency services and was recovery coordinator for the North Coast Floods last year.
“Mr Ferguson has a proven record and the right expertise responding to regional emergencies. We know he will provide excellent support and leadership to all affected by this natural disaster,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Mr Ferguson arrived in the Bega Valley on Monday afternoon to begin assessments.
Mr Constance urged people to ask for assistance if they required it.
“I do worry there is a lot of people in the community that don’t want to put their hand up, but please do it, nothing is to small to try and help,” he said.
He commended the work of emergency services that kept the community safe during the blaze and the “miraculous” evacuation performed by police on Sunday evening.
“And we really have to commend our firefighters, they do this without expectation of thanks, but we will thank them,” he said.
On Monday afternoon, Commissioner Fitzsimmons said the fire was “absolutely not” contained and crews were patrolling for flareups in gardens, fence lines and buildings.
He said of the 19 fires burning across NSW, 12 were remained uncontained and the greatest concentration of firefighting effort was focused on Tathra.