No early start to bush fire season for Hilltops

DAY BY DAY: Locally the South West Slopes Fire Zone will be assessed each week until the Bush Fire Danger Period comes into effect.
DAY BY DAY: Locally the South West Slopes Fire Zone will be assessed each week until the Bush Fire Danger Period comes into effect.

Despite other local government areas receiving an early start to the Bush Fire Danger Period, Hilltops Council will more than likely start its danger period on October 1.

Last week the NSW Rural Fire Service announced an early start to the Bush Fire Danger Period for more than 10 local government areas however on a local level the South West Slopes fire area will assess conditions week by week before the period comes into effect.

The Bush Fire Danger Period is the peak fire season for the NSW Rural Fire Service. During this time fires are more likely to occur due to higher temperatures, drier conditions and more fuel readily available for fires to burn. The period usually occurs during summer and starts on October 1 for many regions across the state and goes through until around March depending on conditions.

The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) announced 12 Local Government Areas (LGAs) commenced the Bush Fire Danger Period (BFDP) last week due to prevailing dry conditions.

NSW RFS Acting Commissioner Rob Rogers said the 12 LGAs entered the BFDP on 1 August are Armidale Regional, Bega Valley, Eurobodalla, Glen Innes Severn, Inverell, Kempsey, Mid Coast, Nambucca, Port Macquarie Hastings, Tenterfield, Uralla and Walcha.

Acting Commissioner Rogers said a number of factors, including local fuel conditions, were considered before declaring a variation to the statutory BFDP that commences on 1 October 2019.

"Conditions across the state are drier and warmer than average, with more than 98 percent of NSW drought affected," Acting Commissioner Rogers said.

"During the Bush Fire Danger Period, land owners and managers are required to obtain a Fire Permit from their local Fire Control Centre before lighting any fires, including hazard reduction burns."

The Acting Comminssioner also reminded residents there may be other restrictions in place in the area and locals should check with their local fire control centre or Council before lighting any fires. Acting Commissioner Rogers said now is the time for residents and land managers to start preparing for the threat of bush fire.

"Last season we saw more fires in July and August than the whole of summer combined," Acting Commissioner Rogers said. "I encourage households to update their bush fire survival plan and make sure the whole family knows what to do when faced with a fire. It could save your lives."

Information about hazard reduction burning and more is available on the NSW RFS website at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/BFDP.