Bushfire season: 1.3m NSW homes at ‘high-risk’

Updated Mon 30 Sep 2013, 2:07pm AEST

 Fire authorities in New South Wales are warning of a long, hot summer, with 1.3 million households in the state classified as “high-risk” this bushfire season.

The official bushfire period starts tomorrow, but there have already been more than 1,000 fires in the past month alone.

At the moment there are 55 bushfires around the state, with 24 of them still out of control.

“That’s around us. It’s not around the corner, it’s right around us now,” Emergency Services Minister Mike Gallacher said this morning at the Rural Fire Service’s headquarters in Sydney.

RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons is warning against taking a laid back attitude to bushfire plans, saying people should write their plans down.

“She’ll be right mate just isn’t good enough,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.

“The Bureau of Meteorology have over the last six weeks or so dramatically revised the forecast as we head into the next three months leading into summer.

“We’re looking at above normal conditions in terms of temperatures and indeed a deficit of moisture, an absence of rainfall, across much of NSW.

“You’ve got the indicators that say we’re going to be in for a very difficult and challenging fire season.”

He says the RFS has been focusing on hazard reduction burns around Yass, Coonabarabran and the Shoalhaven area, the worst effected places in January when 50 homes were lost to bushfires.

Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins says serious fires recently at Barrenjoey and Winmalee show the blaze risk is not only a rural problem.

“People in suburbia need to know they can be impacted by bushfires. Now is the time to act,” Commissioner Mullins said.

He has singled out residents in areas including the Blue Mountains, Lane Cove, Warringah and Sutherland as needing bushfire plans.

“What this season is shaping up to so far is not only a reminder of last season in country and regional areas, but of course the fire risk is at the door of the Sydney Metropolitan Area,” Mr Gallacher said.

Its going to be a long hot summer in Oz this year. Canberra First Aid has the motto ‘Be prepared. Save a Life” This not only relates to first aid in Canberra but those hot summer days bringing fires.

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