The perfect storm of a wet winter, a dry to start to spring and the impending El Nino weather pattern will have firefighters on high alert this bushfire season.
As firefighters battle blazes across Victoria in what has been anticipated as its worst October fire season in history, the focus is squarely on reducing risk closer to home.
NSW Rural Fire Service Zone Manager Roger Orr said he was nervous ahead of the upcoming season.
“It’s as bad as I’ve seen it in the past five years,” Mr Orr said.
“A lot of roadside vegetation is as high as its ever been in the past five to 10 years.”
The statutory bushfire season is still locked in for a start on November 1 in the Tumut and Wagga areas, but recent dry conditions and other factors could force NSW RFS to move the date forward.
Local agronomist Don Kirkpatrick said lots of potential fuel on the ground was a worry, but farmers are usually well prepared for the hotter months.
He said a strong community was vital in minimising fire risks.
“Fire knows no boundaries,” Mr Kirkpatrick said.
Mr Orr reiterated the importance of having a bushfire survival plan in place.
“It’s too late to be working it out on the fly when something goes wrong,” he said.
“On those bad days we are stretched to get people safe and informing the community about what’s going on.
“People need to be well aware of the potential danger of the season and to make their plans early and to take any actions necessary to make sure their property and their families are safe.”
The Riverina RFS is always on the lookout for more volunteers.
“There’s any number of jobs – refueling planes, catering units, helping out in the incident control centre,” Mr Orr said.
The RFS is opening a new fire station at Downside Hall on Sunday, with proceedings to begin at 10am.
Some volunteers will be handed long-service medals at the event, with a family fun day starting at noon until 4pm.
“I’d like to thank the Wagga City Council for its support getting this fire station off the ground,” Mr Orr said.
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