A veteran fire captain from Pappinbarra is warning people not to let down their guard over bushfires, despite recent rain.
Chris Roelandts from Hollisdale Rural Fire Brigade told the Pappinbarra Community Recovery meeting that everyone still needs to be prepared and have a fire plan.
"It's not over. We still have the hottest month to come. A lot of places have not got the rain. Fire permits still aren't happening. All we need to do is dry out again, and away we go," said the RFS captain.
He said the mountain in Upper Pappinbarra would definitely burn again this season.
"We were over there a week ago and it came across the creek, and it's just burning across the leaves. It has burned before and it will burn again. There are so many leaves and dead stuff on the ground.
"On the 8th of November, everything was on fire at once. It was like someone had dropped a napalm bomb on us. There are 180 houses from Beechwood to Pappinbarra, and there are three trucks. We set up a truck at a house that was about to go and we stayed, then moved on.
"We can only do what we can do. Please don't be complacent. The river is dry so we can't get water. Without water, that's it - it's over, rover. You need to prepared for us to get in and get water. Please, everybody, I know people panic when you hear the roar of the fire. It's enormous.
"A lot of places can be saved if you stay, but you've really got to be prepared. Don't get complacent. It will dry out again. We could be in for more again. We predicted that this was going to happen. Unfortunately, everything from Kempsey right down to Forster was on fire on the same day.
"There are a lot of logs still burning. Still, be well-prepared. You need to be. We can come here to this hall tonight. We never lost any lives. We lost three houses in Upper Pappinbarra and four in Bellangry and lots of sheds, but we saved a heck of a lot of houses," he added.
If you want to join the rural fire service in your area, go to https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/volunteer/volunteering-with-the-rfs/Join-the-NSW-RFS
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