Letters

We are a very grateful community

Ed,

Well the last 48 hours have been somewhat of a roller coaster ride. Leaving home on Monday morning to go to work and leaving early to return home and pack in preparation for an evacuation.

I needed to continue to work but neighbours advised me to start prepping for a potential evacuation. I think I walked in circles for an hour, not knowing what to do first, what to pack. Do I start on the outside of my house or think about what possessions I couldn’t live without? Photo’s, memories, how do you priortise that? Question, when were the gutters cleaned? Luckily a few months ago. Our neighbours rallied around and helped each other, especially my 91 year old neighbours, we had a plan and would put in to place if needed, even leaving the house unlocked so I could wake them in the middle of the night if necessary.

Yesterday was a day of waiting for news of the fire activity and hearing the constant stream of helicopters, sea planes and the huge 737 overhead. We watched them drop their retardant and water all day. The work that these people did was nothing short of incredible, we dodged a bullet and these amazing folk ensured that the bullets did not get to our community. 100 fire fighters were on the ground yesterday, the 737 costing $80,000 each time it loaded the retardant was in action most of the day before it was deployed to Qld and all the volunteers and support workers to keep us safe are deserving of a medal. I counted eight fire trucks from all over the region at the Yamba Fire Station yesterday as there were having a short break before going back to help us. As I drove past I said thank you and they gave me the thumbs up. There were plenty more working on the fires.

Thank you to everyone who checked in on me, sent messages of love and thoughts, my friends and family in Vietnam, USA, UK and Scotland, friends from all over Australia, your support and love was really appreciated. Thank you to everyone that offered me a bed, I originally offered my house for shelter too, not knowing I could be the one needing the shelter.

Our community is one of support and strength and we can wake up today knowing that the fires have been downgraded and contained, the containment lines and the retardation has been successful.  If it wasn’t for this the consequences could have been catastrophic.

Thank you to the RFS, NSW Fire, NSW police and all the volunteers, neighbours, friends who kept us safe and up to date with communication over the past couple of days. Thank you. We are a very grateful community.

Sue Hughes, Yamba

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