JAMBEROO’S experience during last week’s bushfire disaster was mercifully short, with a potentially serious fire quickly quenched.
Rural Fire Service crews were stationed at the Albion Park Control Centre ready for an outbreak in the Illawarra and about 30 volunteers attended the blaze when it broke out in dense bushland before 2pm, 200 metres off Nuninuna Drive.
A helicopter made about 10 water drops, leaving ground crews to put out the remainder, with the fire brought under control just before 3.30pm.
‘‘It’s cooler today, but the humidity is very low... it had the potential to be very dangerous,’’ Rural Fire Service Illawarra Group Captain Grahame Fothergill said at the time.
‘‘We were waiting for some action, so we had plenty of resources – it was very quick and very efficient.’’
Fire investigators attended the scene to determine the cause of the blaze, and are currently working with NSW Police.
Adjoining property owner Mike Hoskins said crews beat him to the fire and they did a ‘‘magnificent job’’.
‘‘The winds are changing all over the place and of course with the fires in the mountains, the job they’re doing is wonderful,’’ he said.
While no one was evacuated from the area, Captain Fothergill encouraged all residents to have a Bush Fire Survival Plan in place.
‘‘Even if they live on the coast, no one’s immune,’’ he said.
All of the municipality’s volunteers were on alert during the second half of last week.
About 15 volunteers from the Jamberoo and Gerringong rural fire brigades fought the Halls Road blaze around Picton Road on Wednesday and Thursday and five were stationed at Albion Park as part of the strike force in the event fire crossed the escarpment.
Rural Fire Service Inspector Michael Gray said numbers were wound back on Friday as conditions improved.
‘‘Our crews put in an extraordinary effort,’’ he said.
On Wednesday, five Kiama State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers, including controller David Leigh, were at the Southern Highlands emergency operations centre, working in logistics and delivering supplies to the firefighters.
Meanwhile, deputy controller John Wall headed up the Wollongong taskforce of 80 SES members, including another four from Kiama.
One of the Kiama volunteers also worked at HMAS Albatross during the week as a shadow air base manager, controlling aircraft deployments across the South Coast.
‘‘I think it all went very smoothly,’’ Mr Wall said. ‘‘There was a lot of potential for the loss of property and even life – everyone did a fantastic job.’’
Buses replaced trains between Kiama and Bomaderry between 2pm and 8.30pm on Wednesday, with four of its regular South Coast train drivers battling fires across the state.
A NSW Trains spokeswoman apologised to affected customers, saying the circumstances were not normal.
‘‘When a state emergency is called, these employees are granted special leave to help fight the fires,’’ the spokeswoman said.
‘‘This is part of our commitment to the regional communities we serve.’’
To find more about making a Bush Fire Survival Plan, visit rfs.nsw.gov.au