Locals warned against complacency as fire season looms

Fire crews battle a past blaze at Smeeton Road in Londonderry.
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With a hot and dry summer on the horizon, authorities are warning residents against complacency about fires.

Australians are being urged to prepare for what may be the most significant bushfire season since the deadly 2019-2020 Black Summer fires.

A NSW RFS spokesperson said the statutory Bush Fire Danger Period commences on October 1 and will run until the end of March, but these dates may be varied depending on local weather conditions.

“It is important that landholders and residents are prepared for the upcoming bushfire season to minimise risk and impact of fires that threaten lives and property,” the spokesperson said.

“We are observing less people adequately preparing their properties now than in previous years.”

According to the NSW RFS, grass fires are of particular concern because they travel three times faster than bushfires.

“With a couple of years of wet weather, grass has grown high and we are now starting to see that grass dry out,” the NSW RFS spokesperson told the Weekender.

“In some areas, the level of grass growth is greater than it has been in more than 30 years.

“Grass fires are fast-moving but short-lived which many people may underestimate how dangerous they can actually be.”

It is recommended that Penrith residents do what they can to prepare themselves, their family and property.

Authorities are urging people to review their Bushfire Survival Plan and discuss them with their family, saying those without a plan are most at risk during a fire.

They said young children and elderly persons, as well as those who have mobility issues, existing respiratory conditions or additional needs, are most vulnerable.

According to NSW RFS, bushfire preparedness should never be an after-thought.

“Within the Penrith LGA, we typically experience an increase in the number of people deciding to light pile burns in the last week of September,” the spokesperson said.

“This is due to the expiration of Penrith City Council’s Open Burning Environmental Approval on September 30.”

Residents are being encouraged to prepare for the upcoming bushfire season during the Get Ready Weekend on September 16 and 17. Local brigades will be hosting events at fire stations, shopping centres, and other public areas. They will also be able to help residents with their bushfire survival plan, if they don’t know where to start.

“It is important to undertake preparation activities around the home, including clearing gutters and vegetation debris and other similar activities,” the spokesperson said.

“Don’t leave things to the last minute.”

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