Tathra bushfire recovery enters next phase

Perry Duffin

Residents of Tathra are still recovering from a bushfire that ripped through the NSW coastal town two months ago but things have improved to the point where emergency support services are about to leave.

They'll be replaced by a team of caseworkers who'll continue assisting the small community, which lost more than 60 homes as well as 30 caravans and cabins on March 18.

Many residents were rushed to an evacuation centre in nearby Bega when the blaze arrived bringing embers described as "flaming hand grenades".

The centre at the Bega Showground hall became home for hundreds of locals for days.

Many found out they'd lost everything from news bulletins while gathered around TV and radios at the hall.

A recovery centre was then set up in Bega Town Hall to connect residents with services from insurance providers to counsellors. It was downscaled to a smaller operation in the past few weeks.

And now the final support stage has been announced by the NSW government - the Tathra and District Fire Recovery Support Service.

AAP understands the recovery centre is to be replaced by a team of caseworkers who'll remain in Bega longer-term.

"Many families experienced significant impacts as a result of this devastating bushfire and now face major decisions about their future," Emergency Services Minister Troy Grant said in a statement on Wednesday.

A mayoral fund, organised to centralise donations, has collected more than $1 million to date.

Residents were last week updated on efforts to clear debris.

Maps show almost 50 properties have been cleared with many more in progress or close to completion.

On one of the worst-hit streets, Wildlife Drive, a handful of asbestos-contaminated sites are still to be cleared.

Tathra residents have recently taken to social media to post images of the clean-up efforts and the first tourists returning to the seaside village.

One woman on Monday posted a picture of green ferns shooting through the blackened earth.

"Twilight walk along the forest track - the greenery is balm for the eyes and soul," she said.

A preliminary investigation by the Rural Fire Service found electrical infrastructure was the likely cause of the fire.