The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) is bracing itself for what is predicted to be an unforgiving fire season this year.
Traditionally fire season in the Penrith Local Government Area starts at the beginning of October, but due to the extremely dry weather conditions, this year it will commence from Sunday, September 1.
After having one of the driest winters on record, NSW RFS Superintendent Simon Davis is urging residents to know the risks and start taking precautions now.
“We have experienced a long, dry and warm spell which is increasing the bush fire danger across the region,” he said.
“The things you do now can make a big difference to your safety during a fire, and whether your home survives.”
Superintendent Davis said it is critical families start having those important conversations around bushfire survival plans and learn where is the best place to get information during a fire.
Ways in which residents can prepare their homes include keeping gardens trimmed and lawns mowed as well as clearing gutters and preparing a sturdy hose that can reach all around the home.
Landholders are also encouraged to use fire safely if conducting hazard reduction activities.
“Many people use fire to reduce the fire risk on their property but if not used properly, you can end up being the fire risk to your community,” Superintendent Davis said.
“Don’t be the fire risk to your community. Use fire safely and only light up if conditions are safe.
“Never leave a fire unattended and if a fire does escape, it is essential to call triple zero (000) immediately so that emergency services can respond accordingly and minimise the damage.”
Permits for landholders are required during the bush fire danger period. They’re free and easy to get by contacting your Fire Control Centre.
Information on permits and total fire bans can be found at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au or by contacting the Cumberland Fire Control Centre on 4734 7777.
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Nicola Barton is a news journalist with the Western Weekender, primarily covering crime and politics.