Bush fire danger period begins with greater grass fire risk

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience

Communities across NSW are being warned of a greater risk of grass fires after recent wet weather with the official bush fire season beginning today.

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said the Bush Fire Danger Period is commencing in 92 local government areas across the State.

“While a focus remains on flooding which has been ongoing in parts of the State for more than 12 months, it’s important we also stay prepared for bush and grass fires,” Ms Cooke said.

“The rain has triggered rapid vegetation growth which is going to become a threat as it dries out. All it takes is a few days of hot, dry and windy weather for fire conditions to deteriorate.

“Grass fires move at three times the speed of a bush fire which is why communities need to be aware of the risks and ready to respond.”

NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Rob Rogers said with more rain predicted over spring, grass and crops will continue to flourish, bringing added risk.

“Recent rain has led to good grass and crop growth across the State especially in western areas of NSW and we have already seen more than 1,000 grass fires across the State since July,” Commissioner Rogers said.

“It is important if you work, live or visit bush fire prone areas that you update and discuss your bush fire survival plan and know what you and your family will do if threatened by fire this season.”

Fire and Rescue NSW Acting Commissioner Megan Stiffler is reminding people planning to travel to be aware of the risk of fast-moving grass fires.

“Before travelling, check the weather and fire danger ratings for that area and make a plan to leave should a grass or bush fire take hold,” Acting Commissioner Stiffler said.

“With long weekends and especially over holiday periods, check if a Total Fire Ban has been declared and use barbeques and campfires safely and responsibly if allowed.

“We urge people to remain vigilant. While firefighters and emergency agencies will do everything they can to keep the community safe, protection is a shared responsibility and everybody needs to play their part to be fire safe.”

Landholders who want to light a fire during the Bush Fire Danger Period are required to obtain a permit, in addition to notifying their local fire authority and neighbours 24 hours in advance. On days where a Total Fire Ban is in place, all fire permits are automatically revoked.

Information about fire permits, required notifications and hazard reduction burning is available at: www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/BFDP.

To make a bush fire survival plan, visit: www.myfireplan.com.au.

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