VERY hot, dry conditions predicted this week, along with the ongoing drought, will lead to an increased fire danger risk across the Central West.
The predicted heatwave will see the mercury soar as high as the early 40s in some parts of the Central West on Thursday.
In the Orana district
This region has suffered with the lowest rainfall across the Central West.
NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Orana district service co-ordinator Mark Pickford said bushland areas in the district were of greatest concern due to the high fuel levels.
“Thursday’s hot weather could mean we’ll have a total fire ban towards the end of the week,” he said.
While grazing and the drought had reduced the risk of fire in paddocks, Mr Pickford said long grass beside roads, creeks, rivers and in parks was a concern.
“We would encourage the public to be careful with what they do with fire and don’t use equipment that could cause sparks like mowers, angle grinders, welders and slashers,” he said.
In the Canobolas district
Recent rainfall might have encouraged some grass growth, but Canobolas Zone Superintendent David Hoadley said volunteer firefighters were ready.
“In the western half of Canobolas its been a very ordinary year with the drought so there’s not a lot of fuel to burn,” he said.
“From Orange east, the season has turned out reasonably well in the last few months and there is higher fuel growth.”
Mr Hoadley has urged people to use common sense during hot, dry weather and not to burn-off without a permit from the RFS.
In the Chifley district
Good recent rainfall has been recorded in areas around Bathurst, Lithgow and Oberon, and RFS operational officer Brett Taylor said hot winds would increase the risk of fire.
“If we get hot winds it’ll dry out the fuel and this will increase the fire danger rating,” he said.
In the Mid Lachlan Valley district
Thanks to good recent rainfall, areas around Parkes and Forbes were looking pretty good this week, RFS district manager Superintendent Ken Neville said.
“We’ve had a fair bit of widespread rain in the last few weeks, but it’s really varied across the region,” he said.
Some areas in the district have received as much as 150 millimetres of rain, while others only around 20mm.
“It’s greening up around the areas so we don’t have areas of big risk factor probably until the second week of January,” Supt Neville said.