Severe weather outlook: South West Slopes RFS firefighters concerned

CONCERNED: NSW Rural Fire Service Inspector Tom McDevitt says timbered areas pose a serious risk this summer. Photo: FILE
CONCERNED: NSW Rural Fire Service Inspector Tom McDevitt says timbered areas pose a serious risk this summer. Photo: FILE

TIMBERED areas across the South West Slopes zone are most at risk of fire with predictions of heatwaves and an increased fire risk during coming months, NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Inspector Tom McDevitt says.

This week's severe weather outlook release by the Bureau of Meteorology has left firefighters concerned about the increasing risk of heatwaves and bushfires from October to April.

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.

South West Slopes RFS zone Insp McDevitt said this region was better off than others in terms of agriculture land in this zone.

"We still have some feed in the paddocks and crops that can be harvested, but, that gives us a little bit more fuel in terms of bushfire," he said.

GRAPH: Story continues below

Insp McDevitt said firefighters are worried about the hot, dry weather predictions.

"Given the rainfall deficiency we've had this year the understory of these areas is quite dry," he said.

Insp McDevitt said storm season, which runs from October to March, also increases the risk of bushfires.

"Dry lighting strikes will be something of concern and it's definitely something we'll be monitoring," he said.

Dry lighting strikes will be something of concern and it's definitely something we'll be monitoring.

South West Slopes RFS zone Inspector Tom McDevitt

Lightning strike fires often ignite in remote or hard to reach areas and they can sometimes burn for a few days before being spotted so Insp McDevitt has urged the community to keep watch.

"Report any fires that are not attended by a fire truck to triple-0," he urged.

Insp McDevitt said it was not too late to download a Bushfire Survival Plan and to discuss with family whether you will stay and defend their property during a fire or leave.

"You need to ensure all your family members are across it," he said.

"It helps you plan what action you'll take prior to the season in terms of preparing your property.

"It'll help you decide that if you're going to leave [if a bushfire is nearby] what is the trigger - is it if a fire crosses a particular road or if it's at a certain alert level.

"It can be quite frightening to decide whether to leave or stay."

So far this year Young has received below average rainfall with 387.8 millimetres recorded. The long term average is 424.8mm.

Stay up-to-date with fires in your area on the NSW RFS Fires Near Me website or app.

What do you think?