Armidale Regional Council is one of 10 Local Government Areas in NSW to begin the Bush Fire Danger Period (BFDP) two months early, due to prevailing dry conditions.
The NSW Rural Fire Service will commence the BFDP in the local area on Wednesday, August 1, along with the Inverell, Clarence Valley, Glen Innes Severn, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley, Tenterfield, Uralla and Walcha areas.
“Areas in the north of the state are experiencing extremely dry conditions and it is a worrying sign, especially given we have only received half of average rainfall during winter and no meaningful rain is forecast in the next few months,” NSW RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said.
He said a number of factors, including local fuel conditions, are considered before declaring a variation to the statutory BFDP that commences on October 1.
“Conditions along the coast and especially west of the ranges are drier than average, which is of great concern leading into the bush fire season, especially given firefighters have attended 525 bush or grass fires in the past week alone, compared to 276 for the same period last year,” he said.
During the BFDP, land owners and managers are required to obtain a Fire Permit from their local Fire Control Centre before lighting any fires, including hazard reduction burns.
Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant said that despite current cold temperatures across the state, now is the time for residents and land managers to start preparing for the threat of bush fire.
“We saw with the Holsworthy fire in April, as well as a Watch and Act fire west of Port Macquarie just last week, bush fires can strike out of season and it is vitally important to be prepared,” Mr Grant said.
“This means doing really simple things like cleaning your gutters, removing combustibles from your yard, ensuring hoses can reach all corners of your property and completing or updating your bush fire survival plan, so you and your family know what you will do in the event of a bush fire.”
“I encourage households to update or create a bush fire survival plan and make sure the whole family knows what to do when faced with a fire. It could save your lives.”
Information about hazard reduction burning and required notifications is available on the NSW RFS website.