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2017-18 Fire season – update

Monday, 25th June 2018

2017-18 Fire season – update

After early season fires in September, conditions eased in November and early December before flaring again in January due to significant dry lightning activity, with firefighters attending more than 500 new fires, many in remote areas.

Late season fires were also notable, with the most destructive fire of the season occurring on the far south coast near Tathra on March 18. While firefighters saved more than 800 houses, more than 1,390 hectares were burnt and 65 homes destroyed.

Many hazard reduction burns were undertaken in late autumn, and this work continues when and where weather conditions allow. However, many areas remain drier than they would normally be at this time of the year, presenting significant fire risk.

The latest climate outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) points towards below-average winter (July to September) rainfall across the state. Winter daytime temperatures are also likely to be warmer than average for eastern Australia. This winter outlook is for higher-than-average pressure to the south of Australia, resulting in weaker westerly winds and fewer cold fronts from the Southern Ocean affecting southeast Australia. Recent model outlooks from BOM indicate the chance of El Niño forming in spring has increased. During an El Niño, rainfall in eastern Australia is typically below average.

This is a timely reminder to enact your Hotspots property fire management plan, particularly those urgent tasks to complete before next fire season. Have conversations with your neighbours about fire management planning and look for ways to collaborate and complement each other’s work to achieve better bush fire risk management and biodiversity outcomes.

Use the winter months to create a bush fire survival plan or review and update your existing plan. Don’t put off having a discussion with your family. Getting ready for a bush fire is easier than you think. Take the four simple steps and discuss with your family what you’ll do during a fire https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/resources/bush-fire-survival-plan

Get Ready Weekend will be held on the weekend of September 22 and 23. Get Ready Weekend is a chance for people to meet local firefighters, learn about local risks, and understand what they need to do to prepare for the bush fire season. Look out for Get Ready Day activities at your local brigade station. 

For more information on preparing your property see https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/plan-and-prepare/prepare-your-property. You may also wish to follow the NSW Rural Fire Service on Facebook or Twitter to stay up to date on fire safety.

Information about planned hazard reduction burns near you can be found on the NSW RFS website at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/hr.

You can also stay informed about fires attended by NSW RFS volunteers through the Fires Near Me mobile App and social media. See http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/news-and-media/stay-up-to-date.

For more information on the weather outlook across NSW visit www.bom.gov.au/climate/outlooks.

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