RFS makes this undertaking to landowners as drought continues

Drought conditions concerning: NSW Rural Fire Service acting Commissioner Rob Rogers

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Concern: NSW Rural Fire Service acting Commissioner Rob Rogers was in Dubbo as drought conditions continue. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Concern: NSW Rural Fire Service acting Commissioner Rob Rogers was in Dubbo as drought conditions continue. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

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The acting commissioner said the service was taking the drought "very seriously".

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Ongoing drought conditions at Dubbo and across the majority of the state are posing a new challenge for firefighters in country areas.

NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) acting Commissioner Rob Rogers said the parched earth was just one concern the state was facing as the warmer months approached.

A second challenge was the impact of operations on water storage, he said.The acting commissioner reported of moves to minimise the impact on the resource during a visit to Dubbo on Thursday.

The RFS acknowledged water was "precious" to landholders and made an undertaking to them.

"The fact that 98 per cent of NSW is drought-declared remains really concerning," Mr Rogers said.

"And it's concerning from a point of view obviously fires concerns us, but also the impact firefighting operations have on water storage.

"So we're doing a lot of work internally about how we can minimise the impact, because obviously we don't want to be taking water from people in times like this.

"And certainly the other message is we're very conscious of the fact of landowners, water is precious to them, so if we did take water, and we need to do it, then we will undertake to try to get that water back to them, because we know what a big impact it is.

"So we're taking the drought very seriously, not only from a firefighting, but from a minimising our impact on the community from taking too much water."

The low rainfall that characterised 2017 and 2018 has continued into 2019 at Dubbo, with just 170mm recorded from January to July 28.

The RFS is warning people grass fires can start easily and spread quickly, and that burning embers can travel through the air. Residents should make sure their family has a general understanding about bush fires and bush fire safety, it advises.

The Bush Fire Household Assessment tool can be used to help people make an informed decision regarding their 'Leave Early or Stay and Defend' choice for this bush fire season. For tips on how to prepare, download the RFS's Bush Fire and Your Home fact sheet.

Dubbo Daily Liberal www.dailyliberal.com.au

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