As deadly bushfires rage across the country, the Riverina is in the midst of its first extreme threat of the season.
With the mercury is tipped to hit 40 degrees on Friday and moderate winds predicted in the afternoon, the region’s firefighters are on high alert for any flare ups.
Total fire bans have been in place for all the Riverina from midnight Thursday.
NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Zone Commander Roger Orr said residents needed to remain vigilant in trying conditions.
“People need to take precautions and have their bushfire survival plans ready, especially with the rising temperatures and winds in the region,” Mr Orr said.
“The potential is there (for a bushfire emergency) if we get the wrong thing happening at the wrong time.”
Farmers in the northern Riverina have been urged to plan harvesting around cooler times of the day.
Mr Orr said most farmers understand the risk of operating machinery in extreme fire conditions and would show common sense in continuing their harvest.
Conditions are expected to ease on Saturday, with temperatures dropping to 27 degrees, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
It comes as a report – The Burning Issue, released by the Climate Council on Thursday – said the number of professional firefighters will have to double by 2030 to meet demand.
National Parks and Wildlife Service has been forced to close a number of parks and reserves due to the increased fire risk.
With elevated fire danger across the region, the large air tanker Thor has been deployed to Albury airport in case it is needed in the area.
The northern Riverina is at the highest risk of fire, being rated as extreme – only one level below the highest category, with southern and eastern areas of the region being declared one step below – severe.
Meanwhile, fire brigades in the Riverina have received an equipment boost with the NSW Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA) granting more than $169,000 to brigades across the region.
Ladysmith Rural Fire Brigade secretary Steve Howe said members were glad to be helped.
“The fridge we had in the station was very old … costing the brigade quite a lot in electricity to run,” Mr Howe said.
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