NSW Rural Fire Service crews concerned about a busy season of fires

OUT-OF-CONTROL grass fires and hot, stormy weather has left Bathurst region firefighters concerned about the potential for a very busy summer season.

There is high grass growth across Bathurst, thanks to well above average rain in winter, and the recent hot and windy weather is fast drying out the region.

Already, firefighters have been called to out-of-control grass fires in Freemantle and Raglan during the last fortnight.

The latest blaze was on Tuesday when a fire broke out on a property on Howarths Road in Freemantle.

The three-hectare fire, thought to have been started by a campfire that was not property attended, quickly spread through dry grassland towards a home.

NSW Rural Fire Service Superintendent Greg Sim said five trucks from Eglinton, Bathurst and Freemantle brigades were sent to the scene.

Twenty firefighters were on scene for around two hours to bring the blaze under control.

Superintendent Sim said it was “lining up to be a very busy fire season”.

“There’s long grass growth around the region and it’s starting to cure,” he said.

“These couple of grass fires indicate we might be in for a busy season come January, February and March.

“It is starting to dry out, and even though we’ve had little bits of rain, these haven’t been across the board.”

It's lining up to be a very busy fire season. - NSW Rural Fire Service Superintendent Greg Sim

Superintendent Sim said recent fires in the Sydney region were a worry.

“It’s a little bit concerning considering these fires we’ve had in Sydney were in mild temperatures,” he said. “Predictions are for an 80 per cent chance of a hotter, drier fire season across the state.”

Superintendent Sim said the lack of rain and predicted continuing hot weather was a concern for firefighters.

In November, below average rainfall was recorded in Bathurst with just 44 millimetres of rain in a month with a long-term average of 60.8mm.

People are urged to prepare their properties and themselves to help reduce the risk and spread of fire.

“People should prepare their properties and create fire breaks,” Superintendent Sim said.

While many paddocks in the region have been grazed, there is still a lot of long grass along roadsides and he urged all motorists to be aware if they pull off to the side of the road.

“People need to pull over in a safe place,” he said.

“The heat from your car or exhaust could start a grass fire without you even knowing.”

Superintendent Sim said all Chifley and Lithgow region brigades and firefighters are prepared for the event of a fire.

“Brigades are fully equipped and they’re ready for the season ahead,” he said.

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