LAST weekend gave a taste of what is likely to come this bushfire season with about 1000 volunteer firefighters battling more than 100 blazes across the state.
Fires have already killed stock and destroyed property such as fences, sheds, tractors and electricity poles and wires.
We estimate that last weekend more than $1 million of damage was sustained across NSW.
In one single fire in Northern NSW around 22,000 hectares of valuable pasture land was burnt and more than 200 head of stock were killed.
This is a stark reminder of the reality of bushfire season and the damage fires can cause. Less than three weeks into this year’s season NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers have already attended 373 fires, compared to 180 in the same period last year.
It is clear that this fire season arrived early, and with hotter, drier weather predicted, people need to get ready now, not later.
Our firefighters can’t do it alone – they need people to be prepared.
I urge everyone to download a Bush Fire Survival Plan and talk to their family about how they will handle a bushfire this season. That discussion could save their lives, home or livelihoods.
The efforts of the RFS volunteer firefighters, along with FRNSW, NSW Parks and Wildlife and Forests NSW firefighters, have already helped save properties.
In some areas like the state’s north, volunteers have been dealing with significant fire activity since August.
Many of our volunteer firefighters give up their time to fight these fires with the generous support and understanding of their employers.
The contribution of employers is especially appreciated, as it helps our volunteers to protect communities throughout NSW.