A total fire ban has been declared for the Greater Hunter, Northern Slopes, North Western Regions and Greater Sydney for today, December 2, due to forecast hot and windy conditions.
The total fire ban covers the following councils:
- Greater Sydney Region (Very high) All Sydney Metro Councils, Blue Mountains, Gosford, Hawkesbury and Wyong
- Greater Hunter (Very high) – Cessnock, Dungog, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Muswellbrook, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Singleton and Upper Hunter
- Northern Slopes (Very high) – Gunnedah, Gwydir, Inverell, Liverpool Plains and Tamworth Regional
- North Western (Very high) – Moree Plains, Narrabri, Walgett and Warrumbungle
- The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) provides the following advice.
The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) may request that harvesting operations and other machinery use stop in grassland, paddocks and on roadsides.
NSW RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons is urging landholders to be aware and well prepared with current conditions increasing the risk of fires across the state.
Mr Fitzsimmons said a number of fires burning around the state had already caused significant agricultural damage to crops, pasture and fencing as well as sheds and buildings on farms.
“Grass and crop fires can be especially dangerous because they start easily and spread quickly. They can destroy not only homes, properties and stock, but also lives and livelihoods,” He said.
“The Paynes Road fire to the west of West Wyalong has burned 7000 hectares since it began and spread quickly yesterday afternoon.
“Notwithstanding the firefighters on the ground with support of aircraft doing incredible work, this fast running fire resulted in an estimated $500,000 of crop losses, 600 sheep killed and fences damaged and destroyed.”
Mr Fitzsimmons said there were steps people could take to prepare for the increased risk.
“We strongly urge farmers to use the Voluntary Grain Harvesting Guide available on the NSW RFS website to determine when best to harvest. Fires can often start from machinery with only simple sparks needed for ignition.
“Farmers can also help protect their properties by establishing firebreaks around paddocks, homes and other valuable assets such as sheds and equipment.
“People living in areas where there are crops and grass growth should have a plan for what they will do if there is a fire. Make a bush fire survival plan and discuss it with your family.”
Commissioner Fitzsimmons has stressed the importance of reporting unattended fires to Triple Zero (000) as soon possible.
“The earlier we can respond, the better chance we have to significantly reduce the damage caused by fire.”
No fires may be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended during a total fire ban.
Gas and electric barbeques may be used provided certain conditions are met.
For total fire ban rules and a map of current total fire ban areas click here.