Increased fire danger across NSW forecast for Friday
Published Date: 12 Nov 2014
The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) is urging landholders and farm workers to exercise extreme caution in the coming days due to a significant increase in fire danger across the State.
The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast increased temperatures and strong winds across most of the State for Friday and the weekend.
The Central West, Riverina, Far Western, North Western and Northern Slopes districts are likely to have a Severe Fire Danger Rating on Friday, with temperatures forecast to reach 45C with winds gusting up to 60 km/h in some areas.
Other areas of NSW, including Greater Sydney, the Greater Hunter and the North Coast, will likely experience temperatures up to 40C with strong winds.
NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said firefighters have been called to 20 harvest related fires in the past week, including two fires sparked by farm headers in the Mid Lachlan Valley area which destroyed 110 hectares of wheat crops.*
"Our volunteers are telling me that conditions are extremely dry and that there has been a noticeable increase of crop fires ignited by headers in recent weeks," Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.
"These fires serve as a timely reminder to farmers that they need to be especially careful and consider the conditions when using machinery.
"It only takes one spark to set off a serious fire that can quickly spread to adjoining paddocks and properties, potentially destroying valuable agricultural and other assets.
"I strongly urge farmers to prepare their properties, check firefighting equipment, secure fuel, ensure hay bales are ventilated and consider moving stock ahead of Friday."
Commissioner Fitzsimmons said firefighters and emergency agencies will do everything they can to keep the community safe but the community also needs to do its part.
"Know what you need to do to prepare yourself, your family and your home before a bushfire and know what each member of your family will do if a fire threatens," Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.
"I urge everyone living in bushfire prone areas to download a free Bush Fire Survival Plan from www.rfs.nsw.gov.au and have a conversation with the family about your plan."
Commissioner Fitzsimmons reminded motorists that any driver who throws a lit cigarette faces a $660 fine, which doubles to $1320 during a Total Fire Ban.
Members of the public can report cigarette butt tossers via www.rfs.nsw.gov.au or by calling the Bush Fire Information Line on 1800 NSW RFS (1800 679 737).
Anyone who sees an unattended fire should immediately call Triple Zero (000).