The RFS has called an early start to bushfire season for 21 LGAs across the state, with fears spring weather conditions could be a recipe for blazes.
More than 20 regions across NSW will enter an early bushfire season on Wednesday, with firefighters concerned about a dangerous mix of grass fires and above average maximum spring temperatures.
The Rural Fire Service (RFS) announced 21 local government areas (LGAs) from Ballina in the state’s north to Bega in the far south, and even as far west as Kyogle in the Northern Rivers, would begin their bushfire danger period on September 1 – a month before the rest of the state.
RFS is fearful grass fires could erupt as warm temperatures dry out grass growth fuelled by recent rain.
Residents in an LGA with a bushfire danger period in place must apply for a fire permit for all burning activities.
The other LGAs entering bushfire season on Wednesday are: Byron, Tweed, Muswellbrook, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Singleton, Mid-Coast, Clarence Valley, Nambucca, Kempsey, Bellingen, Coffs Harbour, Lismore, Richmond Valley, Gunnedah, Liverpool Plains, Upper Hunter, Eurobodalla and Shoalhaven.
NSW RFS deputy commissioner Peter McKechnie said the whole state should be on alert as spring arrived.
“Our focus going into bushfires is in those grasslands areas – they’re predominantly west of the ranges (Great Dividing Range) but we do see them east of the ranges and down to the NSW south coast,” deputy commissioner McKechnie told NCA NewsWire.
“Grass and crops can dry out as the weather warms up, and grass fires start very easily. They can move very quickly and they are influenced easily by wind.
“Although our concern is west of the ranges, there are areas of unburnt land along the NSW coast that weren’t affected in the 2019 bushfires, which could be a concern.”
Bureau of Meteorology expert Hugh McDowell said dryer than average conditions along the coast were predicted for spring.
From Port Macquarie all the way south to Bega, above average maximum temperatures are forecast from September to November.
By the end of spring, the mercury is forecast to rise above the average maximum of 23.6C in Newcastle, 23.7C in Sydney and 24C in Bega.
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