Evacuations are taking place across parts of southern New South Wales, with residents in the town of Batlow told their community will not be defendable if fire forecasts become a reality on Friday afternoon.
- The Dunns Road Bushfire has burned through 130,000 hectares in recent days
- People in the town of Batlow have been told to leave, and that the town is not defendable
- Kosciuszko visitors have until 10:00am tomorrow to evacuate
The Dunns Road fire, which is threatening the town, also prompted the evacuation of the iconic Kosciuszko National Park and a nearby prison, after burning through 130,000 hectares in recent days.
The Rural Fire Service designated a leave zone around the town and surrounding country on Thursday afternoon, saying residents had to get out urgently.
NSW RFS tweet: Leave Zone – Batlow / Wondalga Dangerous conditions in Batlow, west of Blowering Dam. If you're in this area, particularly Batlow north to Wondalga & west of Blowering Dam, leave before tomorrow. It is not safe. For road closures go to @LiveTrafficNSW #nswrfs #nswfires
“If you are in this area, particularly in the general area from Batlow North to Wondalga, and west to Blowering Dam, you need to leave before [Friday],” the notice said.
“Fire is forecast to impact the township of Batlow [Friday] afternoon.
“The township will not be defendable.”
The RFS warned people to cancel plans to visit the town and its immediate surrounds. The area is home to 1,300 people.
The Dunns Road fire has burned consistently in a south-easterly direction in recent days from Tumut down towards Kosciuszko National Park.
The NSW Parks and Wildlife Service issued an evacuation alert on Thursday morning, giving visitors until 10:00am on Friday to leave the park.
Evacuation centres have been set up at Cooma Showground and Tumut Bowling Club, and the 155 inmates at the Mannus Correctional Centre, which is a short distance south of the fireground, are being evacuated by bus to another centre in Junee.
“The safety of our staff and inmates is paramount when deciding whether to evacuate a correctional centre,” Assistant Commissioner Kevin Corcoran from Corrective Services NSW said.
Follow our live blog for updates on bushfires and the evacuations.
Tourists have also been told to leave a wider area spreading across the Snowy Monaro region from Batlow to the Victorian border, including Kosciuszko, Adaminaby and Jindabyne.
Holidaymakers are being urged to leave the area before Saturday.
The fire, which has been burning at a watch and act level all day, is expected to flare up, before being exacerbated by extreme weather conditions sweeping south-eastern Australia on Saturday.
The fire has already prompted a massive decrease in tourism, with locals in Jindabyne, just east of Kosciuszko, telling the ABC of the town being deserted.
The town of Batlow “will not be defendable”, according to the RFS. (Supplied: Wikimedia Commons)
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