A report has just come in from police media saying that local staff are treating the bushfire in the Busbys Flat area as suspicious.
Hundreds of NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW Fire and Rescue crews have been battling a bushfire on Busbys Flat Road, Busbys Flat since last Friday (October 4).
Yesterday (Tuesday 8 October), the blaze impacted upon several rural townships, including Rappville, Coombell, Busby Flat Creek, Main Camp and Myrtle Creek, near Casino.
Numerous structures have been damaged or destroyed, however the exact number won’t be known until NSW RFS Building Impact Assessment teams inspect the area.
Investigators from Richmond Police District and the NSW RFS are accessing the fire ground to assess the impacted areas and buildings.
Strike Force Cleander to investigate fire
Following inquiries, detectives from Richmond Police District, with assistance from the State Crime Command’s Financial Crimes Squad’s Arson Unit and NSW RFS fire investigators, have established Strike Force Cleander to investigate the cause and origin of the fire.
Richmond Police District Commander, Superintendent Toby Lindsay said detectives will work tirelessly to determine the cause of this blaze. ‘The NSW Police would like to commend the bravery and service of all NSW RFS volunteers, crews from NSW Fire and Rescue and local police for protecting dozens of properties and livestock.
‘The community of Rappville and other surrounding suburbs have already been struggling with the crippling drought conditions.
‘Strike Force Cleander will leave no stone unturned so we can provide answers for the rural communities impacted by this disaster,’ said Supt Lindsay.
NSW Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said crews will continue to remain on the ground for the foreseeable future to bring the blaze under control.
‘Cooler conditions are on the way for the area in the next 48-hours which will assist our crews greatly.
Be bushfire survival plan ready
‘With the Busbys Flat blaze now merging with the nearby Long Gully Road fire, we are urging all residents to have their bush fire survival plan ready.
‘This bushfire season has already seen thousands of hectares of bushland scorched – residents need to be prepared, said Deputy Commissioner Rogers.
An evacuation centre was established and is being maintained by the Northern Rivers Emergency Operations Centre for residents impacted by nearby fires. The evacuation centre remains open at: St Mary’s Catholic College – Canterbury Street, Casino
Small domestic animals are able to be brought to this centre.
Larger animals can be taken to the Casino Showgrounds, Summerland Way. Camp sites are also available at this location.
Please refer to the Rural Fire Service website (www.rfs.nsw.gov.au) and Fires Near Me (www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/fire-information/fires-near-me) for the most up-to-date information. Residents are also encouraged to listen to local radio for updates.
Public Information and Inquiry Centre hotline
The Public Information and Inquiry Centre hotline has now been opened to assist members of the public in relation to bushfire information for Northern NSW. This will be operation until 8pm tonight (Wednesday 9 October) and re-open at 8am tomorrow (Thursday 10 October). This is available via 1800 227 228.
Road closures remain in place. Please visit www.livetraffic.com for major closures and https://northernrivers.myroadinfo.com.au/ for local road closures.
Residents are being urged to use extreme caution due to fallen power lines, fallen trees and emergency services operations in the area.
Residents are also being asked not to return to fire-affected areas as it is currently unsafe to do so.
A number of people remain unaccounted for in and around the area; emergency services are urging all residents impacted by this fire emergency to visit the Register.Find.Reunite website (https://register.redcross.org.au) and select ‘Northern NSW Bushfires’ to register their current location.
Health warnings are also in place due to significant smoke in and around areas affected by fire. If it is safe to do so, remain indoors or seek medical assistance if required. Trauma counselling assistance is available via the Mental Health Access Line (1800 011 511).