NSW Rural Fire Service has moved the bushfire danger period forward to August 1 on the Mid-North Coast

BLAZING: Pappinbarra fires. Photo by Rod Chetwynd, Fire & Rescue Wauchope.
BLAZING: Pappinbarra fires. Photo by Rod Chetwynd, Fire & Rescue Wauchope.

IT is the driest start to the bushfire season in 17 years with one landowner describing conditions as "scary".

The NSW Rural Fire Service is recommending everyone has a fire plan as the bushfire danger period for the Mid-North Coast is pushed forward by one month to August 1.

Cedar Valley landowner Lisa Mcleod was a recovery coordinator in the Pappinbarra fires of February 2017, which consumed more than 1200 hectares and destroyed six houses.

She said residents should be alert and have multiple fire plans to suit different situations.

If you haven't got a fire plan it's just craziness.

Lisa McLeod

"We're getting ready for a really scary fire season for our community," she said.

"The rivers are down, the creeks are down, the dams are low and we can tell as landowners that it's very dry.

"To have a fire get out of control this time of year would be crazy.

"If you haven't got a fire plan it's just craziness. You should have four or five plans for when everyone's home, when one person is home.

"Don't wait until you need everything. Have your pumps ready, house defendable and a tank full of water ready to go.

"Being organised and prepared, these things make a difference on the day."

A blaze continues to burn across 300 hectares on Lindfield Park Road in Port Macquarie after it started on July 18.

NSW RFS Superintendent Kam Baker said the Bush Fire Management Committee decision was made based on long range weather forecasts and local fuel conditions.

"Areas on the north coast are experiencing extremely dry conditions which is of concern, especially given the lack of rainfall during winter, and no significant rain forecast for the next few months" Supt Baker said.

"Certainly we are a lot drier than what we have seen in recent times and in the last couple of weeks we have seen elevated fire dangers."

Mr Baker said residents can reduce their fire risk by cleaning gutters, removing combustibles, ensuring hoses can reach all corners of property and updating a bush fire survival plan.

"Have bushfire survival plan, review it and discuss it with family," he said.

"Make sure there are no fuels stacked around the house such as piled timber.

"Make sure to stay up to date with fire danger notices to make the best decision about whether to stay or leave the area.

"There will be a large air tanker ready to respond and on standby from RAAF base Richmond from August 1.

"We're implemented a pretty extensive hazard reduction program with Forestry and National Parks in the autumn and winter period. We will probably back off hazard reduction now."

To stay up to date with the situation, please download the Fires Near Me App, or visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au

BURNING BRIGHT: The fire burning at Lindfield Park Road in Port Macquarie. Photo: K-H Media.

BURNING BRIGHT: The fire burning at Lindfield Park Road in Port Macquarie. Photo: K-H Media.

Mr Baker said the conditions this year are drier than those during the Dondingalong fire near Kempsey and the Big Hill Trail blaze between Kempsey and Port Macquarie in 2017.

"Usually we start the bushfire danger period on the September 1, so we are coming forward a month," said Mr Baker.

"It's cyclic weather coupled with the drought which makes it probably the driest conditions I've seen since the end of the drought in 2002 or 2003.

"People will still be able to burn with a fire permit but it is very, very dry at the moment.

"A high level of caution will be exercised in granting hazard reduction permits."

For information about hazard reduction burning and fire permits required during the bushfire danger period, click here.

Comments