THE NSW Rural Fire Service is preparing for a busy end of the year and January, with the fire season sure to intensify.
Throughout 2018, Bathurst has experienced warm and dry conditions, which are set to continue into 2019.
NSW RFS district coordinator Gary Hansen said he was expecting “a much later start” to the fire season in the Chifley zone, given the rain in recent weeks.
However, the RFS, which is supported by 2800 volunteers across Bathurst, Lithgow and Oberon, has already started to prepare for what may come late this month and into 2019.
“This has been a much quieter season than we had last year and we’ve been using this time to do more training and raise public awareness,” Mr Hansen said.
While the thousands of volunteers aren’t on call all the time, the various brigades across the district are ready to respond should an incident arise.
And with the warmer weather on the way, Mr Hansen said it was very important residents started to protect their properties and themselves.
“It’s very important that people have prepared a bushfire survival plan and talked about it with their families,” he said.
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Residents are also encouraged to clear gutters, keep their lawns short and ensure their properties have good access should crews need to respond to an incident.
It is important that the fire danger rating and Fires Near Me tool is monitored as well.
“That is the best trigger to use to know whether to use your bushfire survival plan or stay to defend your property,” Mr Hansen said.
People are also reminded to be vigilant when using fire outdoors, but Mr Hansen did say that people in this area tended to be “quite good and very responsible” in this regard.
He said landowners could get permits to use fire to manage their properties and that more residents than normal had done so already.
“We’ve issued three times more fire permits this year than usual, we’ve issued around 400,” Mr Hansen said, attributing the figure to the weather being cooler.
Should people detect any signs of fire, they are asked to call Triple-0 immediately, even if they think it may have already been reported.
Mr Hansen said that the sooner a fire is reported, the better chance there was of crews containing it.
“Any delay puts the fire at risk of spreading,” he said.
For more information about bushfire safety or current fires, visit the RFS website.