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Beaches on the NSW Far South Coast will be closed today due to bushfire relief efforts being conducted by volunteer surf lifesavers.

All scheduled New Year’s Day public holiday beach patrols have been cancelled on the NSW Far South Coast as volunteer resources are redirected to assist with the bushfire crisis. Beaches will be closed between Batemans Bay and Pambula including; Broulee, Moruya, Narooma, Bermagui and Tathra.

Thousands of people were evacuated to surf club evacuation centres on the NSW Far South Coast yesterday as bushfires raged out of control in the area threatening lives and property.

Road closures on the Princes, Kings and Snowy Mountains highways, due to multiple bushfires burning out of control, prevented thousands of holidaymakers and local residents from leaving the area.

More than 5,000 people sheltered at Bermagui Surf Club yesterday. Over 1,000 people remain at Batemans Bay Surf Club today. Broulee, Moruya, Narooma, Bermagui, Tathra and Pambula surf clubs were also opened as evacuation centres.

Other surf clubs on the South Coast were also opened as makeshift shelters for people requiring emergency accommodation due to road closures in the Ulladulla region.

Yesterday, volunteer surf lifesavers mobilised quickly to provide support to people affected by the bushfires. This included providing oxygen treatment to many people who were suffering from breathing and respiratory difficulties due to smoke inhalation.

Air quality on the Far South Coast remains poor and SLSNSW is now working on logistics to replenish oxygen cylinder supplies and other first aid equipment so that surf lifesavers can continue to provide treatment to those people suffering from respiratory difficulties and other injuries.

NSW emergency service organisations remain on high alert with weather conditions expected to worsen later this week with catastrophic, hot and windy conditions forecast.

Surf Life Saving NSW is working closely with other emergency service organisations, including police, Rural Fire Service, SES and Marine Rescue on the response to the bushfire crisis. Officers from SLSNSW are currently collocated in Rural Fire Service Headquarters and Marine Area Command in Sydney.

“Yesterday’s response to the bushfire crisis represents the largest ever emergency that SLSNSW, as an emergency service organisation, has responded to in collaboration with other emergency service organisations and other agencies to protect our communities,” said Steven Pearce, CEO Surf Life Saving NSW.

“With a membership of 75,000 people, with a huge proportion trained as first aiders and responders, SLSNSW was used to its maximum effectiveness in this period.

“We have no doubt that we have members who have lost their own homes while they elected to assist other members of the community as volunteer lifesavers.

“Even though we have a significant commitment to this response, we are still committed to keeping our beaches safe along the NSW coastline in these hot conditions.

“We’re cognisant of the severe weather forecast for the coming weekend. We’re restocking our oxygen and first-aid supplies in case we have to respond again and to continue providing our scheduled beach patrols as surf lifesavers,” Pearce concluded.

Beachgoers are encouraged to check for more information on patrolled beach locations

Wednesday 1 January 2020