Dangerous fire days ahead for NSW

Published: 19th November 2009

Emergency Services Minister Steve Whan has warned NSW residents to be prepared, with searing temperatures increasing the risk of bush fires over the next few days.

Mr Whan said firefighters were concerned about the bush fire threat posed by potentially record-breaking November temperatures, low humidity and strong north-westerly winds.

"The Bureau of Meteorology has issued warnings that NSW can expect temperatures well into the 40s across many parts of the State between now and Sunday," he said.

"The risk of bush fires is very real. The combination of high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds means any fires can develop and spread quickly, potentially putting life and property at risk.

"With an increased fire danger, it is critical that people are well prepared and familiarise themselves with the Fire Danger Rating in their area and the new alert levels of Advice, Watch And Act and Emergency Warning. Details on these can be found on the RFS website atwww.rfs.nsw.gov.au".

Mr Whan said it is critical that people living in, or travelling through a bush fire prone area, are well prepared by having a Bush Fire Survival Plan.

"Your survival is the highest priority and it's important that you are prepared if a fire is near you.

"Our fire agencies are on high alert and are well resourced but everyone must know what they will do if a fire threatens, including whether they will leave early and if so, where they will go".

NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said firefighters were preparing for the expected conditions.

"We have firefighters and aircraft on standby across the State, ready to respond to any new outbreaks," he said.

"There are already major fires burning near Orange, south of Inverell and in the Pilliga and we remain on alert for further outbreaks," the Commissioner said.

Commissioner Fitzsimmons said Total Fire Bans have been declared until midnight tonight in the Northern Slopes, North Western, Upper Central West Plains, Lower Central West Plains, Southern Slopes, Eastern Riverina, Northern Riverina, Southern Riverina, Far Western, South Western, Central Ranges, Southern Ranges and Monaro areas. Further Total Fire Bans are expected tomorrow.