Rural Fire Service authorises use of emergency warning signal as evacuation centres open

RED: If you hear the emergency sound leave immediately.
RED: If you hear the emergency sound leave immediately.

Follow our rolling coverage here on the current bushfire situation.

The Rural Fire Service have authorised the use of the standard emergency warning signal for the Port Macquarie-Hastings, Kempsey and Mid Coast region.

If used, the message instructs people to evacuate immediately, seek shelter and protect yourself from the heat of the fire.

Over the last fortnight firefighters have been battling some of the most severe fire conditions we have seen on the Mid-North Coast for 20 years.

The ongoing "dynamic situation" was a combination of extremely dry conditions, the number of bushfires - particularly to the west, north-west and south - and prevailing weather conditions.

The alert warns if you are near a fire at emergency warning level, take action to protect your life.

If you are threatened by fire, seek shelter in a solid structure and protect yourself from the heat of the fire.

Remember - a safe location may be nearby, such as a well cleared area, a well prepared and defended property, or a Neighbourhood Safer Place.

Meanwhile evacuation centres have been established across the Port Macquarie-Hastings to provide displaced people a safe haven.

Wauchope High School and Wauchope Showground have been officially set up as evacuation centres.

President of the Wauchope Show Society Neil Coombes, said everyone is welcome to make the Wauchope Showgrounds home for the foreseeable future.

SHELTER: Only last week Rebecca Keogh evacuated to the Wauchope Showground and now the showgrounds are once again an evacuation point. PHOTO: Letitia Fitzpatrick.

SHELTER: Only last week Rebecca Keogh evacuated to the Wauchope Showground and now the showgrounds are once again an evacuation point. PHOTO: Letitia Fitzpatrick.

"We have been preparing to be an evacuation centre all day and I have been in touch with the Port Macquarie-Hastings mayor earlier and confirmed our availability to help people," Mr Coombes said.

"We are happy to take in dogs, cats, horses, pigs, chickens, alpacas and any other animals that might need to be re-homed due to the fire.

"We have had people come from all over NSW - including Wingham - who are trying to escape fires and the message is everyone is welcome.

"We will have people around all night for anyone who needs to be evacuated. The show hall has been stocked with blankets and sleeping bags for people who need a place as well as the animals.

"We also have some food available if needed."

Laurieton United Services Club is also an evacuation centre for people, according to club manager, Rob Dwyer.

"At the moment we have a steady stream of people coming through the door with their pets and lots of their belongings," Mr Dwyer said.

"We are making sure everyone has access for a safe place to stay, and, at the moment it is a watch and wait game.

"But we are prepared to have people stay at the club overnight if needed."

The following are evacuation centres:

  • Wauchope High School, Nelson Street, Wauchope
  • Wauchope Showground, Beechwood Road, Wauchope (animals welcome)
  • Laurieton United Services Club, Seymour Street, Laurieton
  • Macksville High School, Boundary Street, Macksville
  • Bowraville Anglican Church, Young Street, Bowraville

People are also encouraged to use the 'Register.Find.Reunite' website here: https://register.redcross.org.au/

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This story Evacuation centres established as residents prepare to bunker down first appeared on Port Macquarie News.