Residents unprepared for yesterday's fire near Marshall Way, Nambucca Heads

The fire behind Marshall Way, Nambucca Heads, has now burnt through 37 hectares of State Forest.

Rural Fire Service crews were on scene for 15 hours yesterday trying to contain the fire which is currently under investigation.

It is now contained, but is being watched carefully with wind conditions picking up again today.

"It's another day of high fire danger today, and it will persist until Wednesday when we might get a small reprieve. We'll be there monitoring until at least Wednesday," Lower North Coast RFS Superintendent Lachlann Ison said.

Nambucca Heads Fire and Rescue was first on scene at the fire which captain Rob Couchman said started about 40 metres into the bush.

By the time they arrived, the fire was already well established in a 100 metre by 50 metre area.

Multiple Fire and Rescue and RFS units from the Nambucca Valley and neighbouring areas were called in to help.

Forestry Corporation quickly took command of the fire which then jumped containment lines as RFS crews were trying to box it in.

A Watch and Act was issued when the fire started to spot over a fire trail and edge closer to properties along Alexandra Drive.

A helicopter which had been tasked to a fire in Kempsey was redeployed to help waterbomb the area in an effort to protect properties.

Residents were door-knocked by Fire and Rescue to enact their Bushfire Survival Plan.

"It was quite tense on the ground - a lot of residents were concerned," Captain Rob Couchman said.

"A lot of people got caught flat-footed. What we got out of yesterday was there were a lot of people who didn't have a plan in place, or didn't know what a Bushfire Survival Plan was, which is obviously very concerning to us."

Inspector Duty Commander MNC for Fire and Rescue, Tony Lenthall, echoed those sentiments.

If we've got fires going this hard, this early, it's a warning for us all that this is only going to get worse from here on in.

Inspector Tony Lenthall

He advised all residents who live within a few streets of bushland to visit the RFS website, read the information available and sit down and discuss what to do if worse comes to worst.

"The danger to residents along Alexandra Drive yesterday wasn't from flames, but ember attack," he said.

Steps to minimise risk from embers on high fire danger days include cleaning out gutters, removing from outside anything flammable like plastic tables and chairs or play equipment, and ensuring a cleared space between fence lines and nearby bush.

"People are also permitted to check their local fire hydrant on their street - to give it a clean out and make sure it can be easily opened. That would really help us out," he said.

He also wanted to remind residents that the best number to call in an emergency is 000, not your local fire station's landline.

The RFS Get Ready Weekend is on this weekend. Activities are being planned at numerous locations around the Valley, so check in with your local brigade to find out when you can attend and get yourself in the best position if a fire comes your way. As they say, 'hope for the best, but prepare for the worst'.

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