Bushfire danger period season commences across 27 LGAs in NSW

Be safe: Orana RFS district officer Bronwyn Waters said the rain that fell over winter has resulted in a lot of fire fuel across the region. Photo: Belinda Soole.
Be safe: Orana RFS district officer Bronwyn Waters said the rain that fell over winter has resulted in a lot of fire fuel across the region. Photo: Belinda Soole.

With the bushfire season already declared in some local government areas of NSW already and the national danger period just weeks away, landholders are reminded to be cautious when working.

The statutory Bush Fire Danger Period in NSW commences on October, 1 each year, but is adjusted based on local conditions.

On September 1, a further 21 areas commenced the Bush Fire Danger Period for 2020 - bringing the number of LGAs in bush fire season to 27 already.

Orana RFS district officer Bronwyn Waters said the rain that fell over winter has resulted in a lot of fire fuel across the region.

"There are a lot of crops that have all been put in and many properties after the drought were de-stocked so there's not as many sheep or cattle to reduce the fuel," she said.

"We really need landholders to start putting breaks in around their properties and around their homes."

Residents can clear out gutters and fences, trim low branches off trees.

Officer Waters said with harvest soon commencing, she urged farmers to keep grass short around houses and especially sheds.

"Once you get a fire in a shed full of lucerne or hay it's really hard to stop," she explained.

The Orana district officer said one of the reasons why many houses catch alight is due to embers, so urged people to look around their homes and removes items that may catch alight.

The Orana team region incorporates the LGAs of Dubbo, Narromine and Wellington and includes 60 Rural Fire Brigades with more than 1919 members.

One of the biggest things the Orana NSW RFS team are bracing themselves for this bushfire season is grass fires.

Officer Waters said grass fires move very quickly and can do a lot of damage in a short period

"If we can put in breaks to break up fuel it will also give a place for our firefighters to get to and try and contain the fire," she said.

Another thing landholders need to be aware of is hazard reduction burning this season.

Anyone wishing to light a fire during the Bush Fire Danger Period must obtain a permit from their local fire authority.

Officer Waters said farmers must be on site when this is happening and ensure it has a good break, plus have firefighting water available.

"They also need to notify the RFS at least 24 hours prior to lighting, and their neighbours," she added.

"It reduces the amount of calls our firefighters get. Our volunteers are farmers and have families of their own so if we can reduce the unnecessary calls (it's good)."

The Orana district officer said if landholders need any advice this bushfire season to just give them a call.

"We're always happy to help and some brigades are quite keen to go out as it's a good training activity," she said.

"Plus they get to know the community so it's good for many reasons."

This story Farmers urged to be vigilant this bushfire danger period first appeared on Western Magazine.