The recent Coolagolite Bushfire Recovery Forum heard some of the behind-the-scenes work that Bega Valley Shire Council is doing to help the shire deal with bushfires.
One issue residents raised was limited roads to escape bushfires in the Bermagui area.
At one point access to the Princes Highway was limited to Wallaga Lake Bridge because the Cobargo-Bermagui Road was closed and the fire threat blocked the exit south.
BVSC CEO Anthony McMahon said council is planning and trying to prioritise other access such as upgrading Dr George Mountain Road.
When ACM later asked council to elaborate it said it had identified Dr George Mountain Road as a key link from the coast between Bermagui and Tathra back to the Princes Highway.
"Council has submitted numerous grant applications to both state and federal governments in recent years which to date have been unsuccessful.
"We have been making small improvements to the road over time within our limited resources," it said.
A Cuttagee resident whose property was badly damaged by the fire said he had a DA in place to build a concrete bunker but cannot get a concrete truck over Cuttagee Bridge.
Mr McMahon noted there are further bridges south of Cuttagee that are load-limited.
Resilient infrastructure plan
At the forum he said council is involved in a trial with the Canberra Region Joint Organisation (CRJO), a collective of councils from across the region surrounding the ACT, on how to protect critical infrastructure such as water tower sites.
Council said one CRJO project that BVSC is playing a key role in is a resilient infrastructure plan.
"The plan will help to identify the most vulnerable infrastructure the community relies on for essential services and any treatment required to further protect that infrastructure."
Councils, Essential Energy and telecommunications providers are collaborating on the project.
More effective community communication
Residents at the forum wanted to know how communities could set up things like telephone trees to disseminate information, particularly in small and remote ones.
A Coolagolite resident said they had set up a group chat of around 30 houses to share information.
Heidi Stratford from NSW Reconstruction Authority said the Red Cross has a program that helps people develop telephone trees.
Mr McMahon said council could take a role in sharing what some communities have done.
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