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Byron Shire
October 17, 2021

PM singles out Rappville school cleaner bushfire hero

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RFS volunteers survey the damage in Rappville. PHOTO: NSW RFS Facebook

Rain over the weekend has helped fire fighters south of Casino, where the RFS says fires have burned through around 43,000 hectares and are still out of control.

Building Impact Assessment teams have confirmed 45 homes destroyed in northern NSW fires last week.

The Busbys Flat Road fire destroyed 37 homes while another eight were lost in the Long Gully Road fire, adding to 24 already destroyed by fire there in September.

The RFS says volunteers managed to save 166 houses, 18 facilities and 191 outbuildings while more than 50 other properties were damaged.

So far, 89 houses have been destroyed by fires across the state this bush fire season.

Anyone wanting to light a fire anywhere in NSW needs a permit.

The prime minister, NSW premier, member for Page and Richmond Valley mayor were all in Rappville, the town hardest hit by last week’s fires, on the weekend.

They met more than 200 residents at Rappville Public School, where PM Scott Morrison thanked volunteers for their efforts during the emergency.

PM pays tribute to Rappville Public School cleaner, Donna

Mr Morrison paid special tribute to the Rappville Public School cleaner, who reportedly made sure the school was unlocked at night as fires engulfed the village.

Later Mr Morrison mentioned the cleaner again on Facebook, using her first name only: ‘Donna, the cleaner at the Rappville School, who lost her home but helped save many lives by sheltering local residents at the school when the bushfire struck’.

The Rappville public school has been used as an evacuation centre over the weekend.

Fire and Rescue has given the school free wifi and two computers for residents to use for banking, contacting insurance companies.

On Monday morning, the RFS said the Busbys Flat Road fire in the Richmond Valley local government area was being controlled; two fires in the Tenterfield shire, including the Long Gully Road fire at Drake, were under control; another two fires in the Clarence Valley shire were under control and a third fire at Red Bank Road in the Clarence Valley was being controlled.

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