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South Coast Schools reopen; Fire Danger Rating downgraded

September 20, 2023 7:37 am in by

School is back on the Far South Coast!

More than 25 educational institutions closed on Tuesday (September 19) due to the Catastrophic Fire Danger Rating that the Rural Fire Service declared for the Far South Coast.

With the Fire Rating downgraded to High today (Wednesday September 20), all classes are set to resume as usual today.

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Bega Valley Shire Mayor, Russell Fitzpatrick, told East Coast Radio while the move to close many schools in the region was a shock to some, the safety of our children is of the utmost importance.

“School is returning today,” Cr Fitzpatrick said.

“Some people can’t understand why some schools closed and others remained open on Tuesday,but there is a rating system in place where by some schools back on to national parks or bushland and are considered a high fire risk, so that’s why those schools were closed yesterday.”

Schools on the Far South Coast have issued thank you emails and notifications to parents and carers for their understanding and support and say they’re looking forward to seeing everyone back at school.

Temperature records tumbled yesterday from Ulladulla to Eden – the South Coast recorded it’s highest September temperature since 2019.

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The mercury hit 35 degrees as a heatwave covered the coast, combining with strong nor-westerly winds to create dangerous fire conditions.

A Heatwave Warning is still current for the Far South Coast with tops of 31 in Batemans Bay and Moruya today, 30 in Bega and 27 in Merimbula and Eden.

There is high chance of rain forecast for later today and temperatures in the region are expected to drop tomorrow with Batemans Bay, Moruya and Bega set for a top of 20 with tops of 18 in Merimbula and Eden.

Fitzpatrick said people in the South East need to keep bushfire safety front of mind, everyday as we head into the warmer months, especially with the Bureau of Meteorology announcing on Tuesday that El Nino will bring more hot and dry conditions this spring and summer.

“We can all see how dry it is in the Bega Valley at the present time,” Cr Fitzpatrick said.

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“We know that’s there and we all need to be aware of it, whether you’re a smoker – what you do with your ciggarette butts, we just all need to be conscious of what we do and how we live our life around it.”

Images: James Fennessy – East Coast Radio, RFS

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