If you haven’t got a bushfire survival plan, now is the time to prepare one, says Rural Fire Service South West Slopes district manager Andrew Dillon.
While the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is predicting there is only 30 to 40 per cent chance of warmer than normal days in southern NSW in spring leading into summer, Mr Dillon said the RFS forecasts there will be above average fire activity in the South West Slopes Zone heading into the fire season.
This is due to Young experiencing a good and moist winter and already warm spring days, making for “ample fuel” in the form of long, dry grass to feed fires.
“There is a real risk of fires escaping,” Mr Dillon said.
He said at every opportunity he gets he tells people to download a bushfire survival plan.
“Now’s the time to start preparing for it – last fire season should still be fresh in people’s minds.”
The highest temperature to hit Young last summer was 42.6 degrees, recorded by the BOM at Young’s airport on January 18 – the same day the 1600 hectare Watershed Stud fire started in Moppity Road.
December recorded 36.5 degrees as its highest for the month and February, 37.8 degrees.
“We’re expecting a normal summer (in temperature) and with a normal summer comes the risk of fires,” Mr Dillon said.
“[It] certainly has the potential of bad fire days for large grass fires.”
Heading into the bushfire danger period (starting from October 1), the RFS is asking landholders in bushfire areas to make sure they keep their grass low around their homes.
Local RFS brigades have started carrying out hazard reduction burns, targeting roadsides west of towns and villages to create breaks.
“Fires generally start from the west and head in an easterly direction,” Mr Dillon said.
They have already covered areas such as Wickham Lane and Scenic Road, and will be doing a major burn along the railway line in Bendick Murrell in two weeks.
To download your bushfire survival plan, go to the RFS website http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/.