Today is the first day of Spring and day one of the Fire Danger Period on the South Coast!
Spring is the peak time for severe thunderstorms near the east coast and according to the Bureau of Meteorology, as well as more storms, South East NSW is likely to have warmer spring days than usual, with mostly warmer nights.
Australia’s fire agencies have identified an increased fire risk this spring for large areas of NSW including Bega and the South Coast.
Thirty-two local government areas start their Bush Fire Danger Period today as warm, dry conditions increase the fire risk.
Commissioner of the RFS, Rob Rogers, said 11 of the 32 areas beginning the danger period this month are doing so a full month earlier than normal due to the prevailing dry conditions.
“Wet weather over the last three years has caused prolific growth, and as we move out of this incredibly wet period the bush fire risk is returning to NSW,” Commissioner Rogers said.
“Fire activity in recent weeks has increased as the landscape dries, forests and grasslands become more susceptible to fires.
“Since 1 August firefighters have responded to more than 2,031 bush and grass fires compared to 638 for the same period last year.”
It means people in the South East now need a permit and need to notify their neighbours to light a fire outside.
District Co-ordinator with the Far South Coast RFS, Chris Anderson told East Coast Radio, South Coast locals should start getting their properties ready for the bushfire season.
“Now is the time to think about bush fire preparedness, bushfire survival planning and what you’re doing around your property to prepare yourself for the season,” Anderson said.
“In the Eurobodalla and Bega Valley Shire, as of midnight last night, you will now need a fire permit to undertake any burning within the landscape,” he said.
RFS Brigades from Bawley Point in the north to Eden in the south will hold their “Get Ready Day” this month.
“That’s scheduled for the 16th and 17th of September but some brigades will have it either side of that as well, and I encourage everyone to get along to that,” Anderson said.
Minister for Emergency Services, Jihad Dib MP, has reinforced the need for all landowners to take the time now to prepare for the bushfire season.
“The warm and dry conditions have put landholders on heightened alert. Preparing for the season is a shared responsibility, and everybody needs to think now about their plan and preparation as we head into bushfire season,” Minister Dib said.
“It’s important to have a plan, even if it’s a conversation with your family about what you will do during a fire – including where you will go, when you will go and what you will take.”
“As the weather starts to heat up, it’s time to take simple steps like reducing vegetation around properties and cleaning gutters to reduce the amount of fuel.”
From 1 September, the following local government areas are beginning their Bush Fire Danger Period one month earlier than usual: Tamworth, Bogan, Coonamble, Walgett, Warren, Moree, Gwydir, Narrabri, Gilgandra, Warrumbungle, and Midwestern.
From 1 September, the following LGAs also begin their Bush Fire Danger Period: Muswellbrook, Singleton, Kempsey, Nambucca, Mid-Coast, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Clarence Valley, Ballina, Byron, Tweed, Bellingen, Coffs Harbour, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley, Gunnedah, Liverpool Plains, Upper Hunter, Bega Valley, Eurobodalla, and Shoalhaven.
This is in addition to six LGAs; Armidale Regional, Walcha, Uralla, Glen Innes Severn, Inverell, and Tenterfield that commenced on 1 August.
Landholders in these LGAs now need to apply for a permit to burn off and notify their neighbours and local fire authorities 24 hours before lighting up. Free permits are available by contacting your local Fire Control Centre.
Information about hazard reduction burning, obtaining permits and required notification is also available on the RFS website.