Natasha Excell is watching conditions as the fire near Drake progresses.
Natasha Excell is watching conditions as the fire near Drake progresses. Marc Stapelberg

'Nerve wracking' wait for community ravaged by fire

STANDING on a hill looking towards smoke rising above the Long Gully Road fires at Drake, Tabulam resident Natasha Excell said she is concerned about the second bushfire in seven months facing the town.

Ms Excell, 49, said she and he family lost a shed on their property just outside the village during the February fires.

Now she is anxiously watching the smoke.

"In February we had the firefighters on our property which was very reassuring," she said.

"I'm hoping the February fire has cleared out the fuel around the area, we have lived here for nine years and we have run out of water and having to buy it now.

"But up at Drake, there are people doing it much tougher than us."

It was view echoed by many residents of the tiny rural town.

At the Tabulam general store, Daniel Sereni was buying pet food and said the smoke was making everyone concerned.

 

Daniel Sereni at the general store in Tabulam getting supplies for his pets.
Daniel Sereni at the general store in Tabulam getting supplies for his pets. Marc Stapelberg

Mr Sereni who is working as a construction labourer on the new Tabulam bridge, said everyone is online and on social media to learn about the fire's progress.

"It's a little bit nerve wracking," he said.

He said he had already sorted out the gear he would need to pack in case the fires came closer and Tabulam is evacuated.

"During the February fires was a lot closer to town and came through a lot quicker," he said.

"If we have to leave town in a hurry we are pretty much set to go."

Meanwhile, a Tabulam resident who asked not to be named, was very critical of the Kyogle Council for not opening up community resources to support those affected by the fires.

The resident who said they were evacuated during the February fires said the lack of information from council and Rural Fire Service was very frustrating.

"The left hand does not know what the right hand is doing," they said.

"In February they opened up the community hall, but now there's nothing here."