Grass fires a concern this bush fire season


Grass and crop fires are the greatest concern for the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS), with the official bushfire season across NSW underway.

After spending two months assisting with wildfires burning in the northern hemisphere, the 737 Large Air Tanker (LAT), ‘Marie Bashir’, has returned to NSW, and will be ready to assist firefighters to save lives and properties here, as part of the RFS aerial fleet.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott and NSW RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers AFSM joined local firefighters to conduct a controlled burn at Varroville today to demonstrate how quickly grass fires can develop and spread.

“Since the LAT first touched down in NSW in August 2019 as a permanent addition to the RFS arsenal, she has assisted firefighters to save homes and lives across the NSW as well as assisting interstate and internationally,” Mr Elliott said.

“The NSW Government has committed $480 million in response to the NSW Bushfire Inquiry recommendations, which includes the addition of two new Bell 412 helicopters and the citation ‘Birddog’ aircraft.”

“Despite COVID-19 impacting almost every facet of our lives, our incredible firefighters have worked tirelessly to prepare for this bushfire season, and I urge communities to do the same,” Mr Elliott said.

Commissioner Rogers said the higher-than-average rainfall over winter has seen an increase in growth of grass and crops, particularly in regional parts of the state.

“Our helicopters will be strategically placed in regional locations, as we anticipate a greater risk of grass fires burning in our regions this year,” Commissioner Rogers said.

“Grass fires move very fast and are particularly difficult to contain. It’s important that everyone has a plan in place and know what they will do if threatened by fire.

“Our aviation fleet is ready to assist firefighters across NSW and we urge communities to be equally as prepared. There can never be a fire truck at every home, so everyone needs to have a plan in place,” Commissioner Rogers said.

The NSW Government has committed more than $480 million over four years to improve the state’s preparedness and response to bushfires and support our firefighters, including:

  • $69.3 million for an additional 420 new fire trucks and 140 refurbished trucks and vehicles.
  • $20.6 million to modify safety components on NSW RFS fire trucks.
  • $42.9 million to employ an additional 100 mitigation crews for hazard reduction work.
  • $24.9 million to implement a new risk-based multi-tenure hazard reduction planning and upgraded audit and compliance functions.
  • $36 million for a new first-responder mental health strategy for emergency services.
  • $3.4 million to increase the number of Fire Behaviour Analysts and enhance training.
  • $15 million for additional personal protective clothing for frontline firefighters.
  • $43.9 million to fund priority works for the fire trail network.
  • $21.8 million to upgrade the NSW RFS aviation capability.
  • $10.6 million to implement the new National Fire Danger Rating system.
  • $15 million for upgrades to Emergency Services Fire Control Centres.

The official bush fire season commenced on 1 October 2021 and runs through to 31 March 2022.

Contact Name: State Duty Media Officer

Contact Phone: 02 9898 1855