Fire season update 2018-2019
Wednesday, 23rd January 2019
After a late finish to the 2017-18 fire season, prevailing dry conditions were experienced throughout winter this year. As a result, the Bush Fire Danger Period started early, on 1 August for many local government areas. Very High and Severe fire danger conditions in August and September resulted in some significant early-season fires. Unfortunately, several of those fires in northern NSW regions were the result of illegal burning. If you are planning a burn, ensure you have the necessary approvals, provide notification before starting and ensure you conduct them safely. Your local district NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) office can help you plan and prepare for bushfire mitigation.
The latest climate outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology (February 2019 – April 2019) indicates warmer than average temperatures are expected across Australia but that an El Nino event has not established. This is bringing warmer than average conditions across Australia. For eastern parts of NSW, February to April is likely to be drier than the median. Overall, however there is no strong tendency towards a wetter or drier than average season.
While some areas have recently experienced good rainfall, most of NSW remains drier than normally for this time of year. As a result, the Southern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook 2018 shows large parts of the country face above-normal bushfire potential in coming months. Annual indices of the Forest Fire Danger Index are increased, but this risk is countered somewhat by relatively poor growth of grass in drought affected areas, which has reduced fuel loads. However, dry and cured grass fuels enable grass fires to spread rapidly. It is expected that soil and fuel moistures will decrease quickly with warmer than average temperatures over summer.
How fireproof is your plan?
You may have been implementing your Hotspots Property Fire Management Plan throughout the year but have you reviewed your bush fire survival plan recently? Fire management actions may reduce the risk of fire harming your property but will not eliminate the risk. Don’t put off having a discussion with your family. It may also be a good idea to talk to your neighbours or other community contacts. Getting ready for a bush fire is easier than you think. Find out in five minutes at myfireplan.com.au
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.
You can also stay informed about fire incidents and activities 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