At least 12 out of control bush fires are at Emergency Warning level at 11.12pm on Friday, 8th November, 2019.
At least 12 out of control bush fires are at Emergency Warning level at 11.12pm on Friday, 8th November, 2019. Bill North

TOO HOT TO HANDLE: Warning system fails to keep up

CLARENCE Valley residents are in a state of confusion and unsure of the current fire situation as the NSW Rural Fire Sservice warning system fails to keep up with more than 12 emergency situations across north of state.

Residents at Waterview and other outlying areas in the Clarence Valley have reported delays in receiving information about fires in their areas.

A resident at Waterview said he had experienced problems with emergency SMS and problems with fire mapping.

He said there was a fire at Chambigne, where residents in the area were told to evacuate, but the fire had not appeared on online mapping.

Despite reports of evacuation orders, no fire appears at Chambigne, while the bush fire at Nymboida which has destroyed homes remains at Alert level on NSW RFS online mapping, despite emergency warnings alerted by the NSW RFS.
Despite reports of evacuation orders, no fire appears at Chambigne, while the bush fire at Nymboida which has destroyed homes remains at Alert level on NSW RFS online mapping, despite emergency warnings alerted by the NSW RFS. Bill North

He also said the SMS ping went way too wide and included residents who weren't near the fire, including Waterview.

"I believe people in South Grafton also got a message," he said. "I spoke to RFS at Ulmarra to check if we were in danger after getting the SMS (at Waterview).

"I asked why the fires were not on the map and was told there's so many fires the computer system can't keep up.

"This is scary when the fire is threatening homes but isn't on the map. I hope this incident was an isolated one."

It is understood NSW RFS resources on the ground have been completely stretched beyond the limit.

Comment to come from NSW RFS.