RESIDENTS have been reminded to think twice about doing any outdoor work that could result in a fire.
There have been several instances this fire season where the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has had to attend to fires that have been sparked by electrical equipment being used outdoors.
The most recent incident was over the weekend at a property on Limekilns Road, where a grass fire appeared to have been caused by an angle grinder being used outside on a day where there was a total fire ban.
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If it was not for the quick work by locals and fire crews it could have spread into a close dry wheat field and continued on for some distance.
NSW RFS Chifley/Lithgow Team operational officer Brett Taylor said it is illegal to be doing that kind of work when there is a total fire ban.
People can be fined if they are found to have started a fire, with penalties starting at $100 and increasing depending on the severity of the fire.
Grinding, soldering, gas cutting or any other forms of "hot works" come with a risk and it doesn't take much work for any of these to start a fire on a hot day.
"It creates hot embers and the metal fragments that come off the angle grinder land on the grass and, if it is dry enough, it can start a grass fire," Mr Taylor said.
Within 30 seconds to two minutes, the fire could be as big as a football field if the conditions are right, and fires of this size and bigger can be very difficult for firefighters to contain.
"You would need a lot of resources and for them (the RFS) to get to them quickly," Mr Taylor said.
He said it was important for people to be aware of the fire danger rating for the day and remember that there is still a risk of fire from hot works when there isn't a total fire ban in effect.
Even lawn mowing can lead to a grass fire under the right conditions.
"A very high or above [fire danger rating] would certainly be the days where you've got to be concerned and ask 'Do I need to do this today?'," Mr Taylor said.
If people do see a fire or smoke column where there are no RFS crews in attendance, they need to call triple zero immediately.
However, Mr Taylor said that if people smell smoke it may not mean there's a fire in the region. They should check the Fires Near Me app or RFS website before calling the emergency services.
"If you are still concerned call triple zero, but have a bit of a look first," he said.
The website also has a fact sheet about total fire bans, explaining what is and isn't allowed when one has been declared.