'We didn’t want to risk being cut off': residents speak about evacuation

SATURDAY night was a tense game of watch and wait, but Nashdale residents bounced back on Sunday, catering for neighbours and firefighters at Nashdale Hall. 

The hall, on Cargo Road, was a designated evacuation point for those who had been advised to evacuate and had nowhere else to seek shelter until the location was moved to Orange Showground. 

Committee members were at the hall from 7.30am on Sunday, cooking bacon and egg rolls and preparing sandwiches for firefighters.

Among them were Graham and Angela Sattler, who live on Boree Lane.

Their family evacuated just after 10pm on Saturday when they felt uneasy with the situation.

“The whole western side of the mountain was alight,” Mrs Sattler said. 

“Boree Lane only has access onto Cargo Road – there is also access through people’s properties, but we didn’t know that and we didn’t want to risk being cut off.”

Licensee Michael Sobotta watched the fire all night, deciding to provide food to help firefighters coming off shift.

Woolworths donated bacon, eggs and breadrolls, with Coles also donating bread and ham and IGA coming through with bread and water.

Pioneer Brewery supplied beer for the firefighters after their shifts.

Donations were initially called for and the hall was inundated with offers of fruit, slices and even KFC, with fridges at capacity.

Happy Days Coffee and Food offered to bring the van and offer free food and coffee, while the Little Green Van offered to transport donations.

But donations ceased at about 2.30pm when catering teams were brought in for the Mount Canobolas fire and the Belerada Creek fire, at Gowan. 

The committee thanked the people and businesses of Orange for their donations.

There were other examples of generosity shown throughout the day, including Pay It Forward, which offered accommodation for animals. 

Nashdale and Canobolas Public Schools announced they would be closed on Monday but would operate from Orange Public School instead. 

Nashdale principal Kylie Toberty took to social media to encourage parents who were fighting the fires to drop their children off, even in their pyjamas. 

“We will feed and entertain them and let you do your thing,” she said. 

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