Severe weather outlook: Orana RFS firefighters concerned

OUTLOOK: There is an increased risk of heatwaves and bushfires in the region with firefighters concerned. Photo: FILE
OUTLOOK: There is an increased risk of heatwaves and bushfires in the region with firefighters concerned. Photo: FILE

INCREASING risks of heatwaves and bushfires across the region during the next few months have left firefighters in the Orana region concerned.

The predictions were released this week in the Bureau of Meteorology's (BoM) severe weather outlook for the October to April period.

Meteorologist Dr Adam Morgan said there was a higher than usual chance of extreme heat developing along with the deepening drought in inland areas this summer.

"Large parts of Australia are extremely dry as we head into the warmer months, especially in the east where some areas have seen very little now for three years," he said.

"We expect the warm and dry trends to continue for the remainder of the year."

Dr Morgan said the predicted hot, dry weather and clear skies raises the risk of heatwaves when winds push the heat towards the coast.

Record hot average Australia daytime temperatures for January - September 2019. Image: BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY

Record hot average Australia daytime temperatures for January - September 2019. Image: BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY

"Just like last year, it's been an early start to the fire season for many," he said.

Tinder dry bushland that hasn't seen rain in months is a huge concern to firefighters in the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Orana zone, acting district co-ordinator Peter Fothergill said.

"Areas including the Goonoo National Park, the Goobang National Park, Tomingley and the eastern range areas near Burrendong Dam are all a concern," he said.

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"They all prone to lightning strikes."

A lightning storm that passed over the Goonoo National Park on Friday quickly ignited bushland with firefighters called to the 17 hectare blaze on Sunday.

While there is little grass left in the region, grassland fires are still a possibility and Mr Fothergill said these have the ability to spread very quickly.

WEEKEND BLAZE: A bushfire burning in the Goonoo National Park on Sunday. Photo: SUPPLIED

WEEKEND BLAZE: A bushfire burning in the Goonoo National Park on Sunday. Photo: SUPPLIED

He said the severe weather outlook released by the BoM came as no surprise to the region's RFS crews

"The last couple of years it's been building and with extended dry periods the vegetation is just getting drier," Mr Fothergill said.

"The trees aren't sucking in any moisture and they've dried out over the last couple of years."

Mr Fothergill has urged anyone who lights a fire while camping to ensure that it is extinguished completely before they leave.

So far this year Dubbo has received well below average rainfall with just 187.6 millimetres recorded to the end of September. The long term average is 399.7mm.

Fourth driest January-September on record for Australia, and driest since 1965. Image: BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY

Fourth driest January-September on record for Australia, and driest since 1965. Image: BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY

In Wellington 257.8mm of rain has been received which is well below the long term average of 439.6mm.

People in the Orana region are urged to download a Bushfire Survival Plan now and to discuss with their family whether they will stay and defend their property during a fire or leave.

Stay up-to-date with fires in your area at the NSW Rural Fire Service's Fires Near Me website or app.

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This story Increasing risk of heatwaves, bushfires with firefighters concerned first appeared on Daily Liberal.