250 people attended the Uriarra and Tharwa community meetings over the weekend. This included owners and leaseholders from both communities, along with some residents from urban areas of Canberra including Banks, Gordon and Conder.
There were a lot of people sharing their own experiences from the 2003 Canberra fires, in a bid to encourage others to consider evacuating if the worst were to happen.
A key issue raised during the community meetings was forced evacuations and road closures.
Forced evacuations will not be implemented in the ACT.
Where roads are closed for safety reasons, the ESA will work with Police and Roads ACT to inform the community.
Residents wanting to return home to defend their properties will be given access until the bushfire warning level reaches Emergency Warning.
There are two messages that the ESA would give to the community at Emergency Warning level:
- Evacuate now because leaving the area is the safest option; or
- shelter-in-place because it is too late to leave and the safest place to be is within a solid structure that offers protection from the fire.
In line with the Emergency Warning messaging, residents will not be able to pass a roadblock at a closed road for their own safety and the safety of emergency personnel working in the area.
Over the coming days we will be compiling more information we gathered at shopping centre pop-ups and the community meetings.
We will share with you what we have heard from the community, answer questions we took away and address key concerns raised.