THE region may have received a little rain on Friday, but it was far from enough to douse the concerns of firefighters of a busy bushfire season ahead.
Bathurst, Lithgow and Oberon local government areas are so parched from the drought that the start of this year’s bushfire danger period was brought forward by one month to commence on September 1.
Many areas of the state have already seen out-of-control bushfires come dangerously close to communities and the Bells Line of Road was cut in mid August due to a raging bushfire at Bilpin.
NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Superintendent Greg Sim said that the small amount of rain that fell on Friday was far from enough to break the drought or allow the region’s firefighters to feel at ease.
“We are concerned, there’s a lot of factors involved … there’s still not enough [rain] to moisten all those ground fuels that are there,” he said.
“There is grass in some of the farmlands around here that is rather low and that helps us throughout the season, but the bushlands are certainly very dry and even with only little grass growth fire can still travel across the areas.”
Fire and Rescue NSW Superintendent Brett Jackson said the two fire services will work very closely during the coming fire season to protect the public.
He agreed that the rain that has fallen was a long way off what the region needs to be less at risk of fire.
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“We ask people not to be too complacent this time when there’s been a little bit of rain and they really need to call triple-0 if they do see a fire,” Supt Jackson said.
“Any unattended fires need to be put out pretty quickly.”
Supt. Sim said landholders were still able to conduct burns on their properties during bushfire danger period, however, a permit must first be obtained from the NSW RFS.
There’s still not enough [rain] to moisten all those ground fuels that are there.NSW Rural Fire Service Superintendent Greg Sim
“The purpose of bringing that in [an early bushfire danger period] is to have a bit of control over what fire is being used on the land,” he said.
Call the Chifley/Lithgow RFS Fire Control centre on 1300 258 737 for more information on permits.
The bushfire danger period in Bathurst, Oberon and Lithgow runs until March 31, 2019.