REVEALED: Clarence region hardest hit by bushfire
A REPORT has confirmed the Clarence Valley local government area was the hardest hit by the bushfire crisis which gripped the Northern NSW region in recent months.
An Office of Emergency Management State Impact Report released at the end of 2019 revealed the full extent of the bushfire impact across Northern NSW and the Clarence Valley tops the list in almost every category.
With 97 per cent of assessments complete there were 1488 rural landholders directly impacted by the bushfire in the LGA, with 167 buildings destroyed completely.
That represented almost 25 per cent of buildings destroyed across the entire Northern NSW region since July 2019. The total number of houses destroyed in Northern NSW stood at 692.
A total of 391 outbuildings and five facilities went up in flames including a timber mill, a stockyard and a Telstra shed.
The only other LGA with numbers similar to the Clarence Valley was Mid-Coast Council, with 125 homes, 270 outbuildings and nine facilities destroyed and 1441 rural landholders impacted.
Clarence Valley Council mayor Jim Simmons said it was "by far" the most affected council area, which was in part due to its significant size, something that also affected the size of the response.
Mr Simmons highlighted the impact on the sizeable road network as a particular challenge and was pleased with how staff had responded to the disaster by quickly getting to work to fix infrastructure including the many bridges that had been destroyed or damaged.
"Some of those bridges are wooden bridges and weren't completely destroyed and rebuilding them might involve fixing two or three spans."
"It would make more sense to replace them with a whole concrete bridge."
Soon after the bushfires were deemed under control, Rural Fire Service teams went out into the field to conduct building impact assessments of destroyed and damaged property and it was those results that inform the report.
Assessments were completed in almost half of the 17 LGAs affected by bushfire, with the lowest at 97 per cent complete.
While the OEM impact report paints a picture of devastation across the region it also confirmed Nymboida sustained the single-biggest loss of residences and outbuildings of any one town in Northern NSW.
During the fires in November a total of 94 homes and 154 outbuildings were reduced to ash and rubble, ahead of the next worst affected town of Wytaliba, with 72 residences and 67 outbuildings lost.