SWELTERING conditions are set to stick around the region with the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) urging locals to prepare for severe fire conditions to continue across the state tomorrow.
A total fire ban for Wednesday has been issued for the North West Region and the North West Slopes and Plains and there is no relief in sight, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecasting temperatures to nudge 40 degrees for the rest of the week should see similar temperatures.
The severe conditions have also prompted local firefighters to warn locals to get on the front foot.
NSW RFS Liverpool Range co-ordinator Myles O’Reilly said locals should be “fire ready”.
“People need to make or review their bushfire plan and decide what to do early if a fire starts near them,” he said. “People should also monitor conditions in their area and if they are travelling, the areas that they will be in as the conditions may be different.”
A Total Fire Ban has been declared for nine areas across NSW tomorrow. These include Greater Sydney Region, Greater Hunter, Illawarra Shoalhaven, Southern Ranges, Southern Slopes, Central Ranges, North Western, Northern Slopes and New England areas #nswrfshttps://t.co/NP7Ww4FW2qpic.twitter.com/asSrELQqxc— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) February 13, 2018
Already small fires have broken out in recent days with investigators blaming things like cigarettes for starting blazes along roadways. On Saturday, crews battled winds and searing temperatures to battle a blaze at Carroll that burnt out more than 80 hectares.
Motorists caught tossing a lit cigarette during a total fire ban will be slapped with a $1320 fine.
Oxley Police Inspector Michael Wurth said community members should continue to be vigilant regarding fire safety.
“It’s important to remember not to throw anything out of car windows that could start a fire,” he said.
“Items such as cigarette butts and glass bottles that can act as a magnifying glass can easily start road-side fires, so it’s vital people continue to do the right thing and not throw these types of things out of windows.”
On Tuesday morning, NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons confirmed the forecast of hot and windy conditions would raise the fire danger ratings.
“Already this summer we have seen record-breaking temperatures in many areas,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.
“This week we will see strong south-westerly to westerly winds develop and coupled with the heat we’ve already experienced, the landscape is very susceptible to fire.
“That’s why it’s so important that landholders, homeowners, businesses and travellers seriously consider how they could be impacted and start planning now.
The RFS commissioner urged locals to have a fire plan ready if a fire should start near them.
“Use today and tonight to have a discussion about what you will do if a fire starts near you, so everyone in your household knows your bush fire survival plan,” he said.
“With many parents back at work and kids at school, people need to consider what to do if fire threatens when the family is separated.”
Commissioner Fitzsimmons said people living in bushfire prone areas need to be especially careful.
“People in bush fire prone areas need to understand that under these conditions, fires can start easily and spread quickly, impacting on homes, properties and valuable assets,” he said.
“Earlier this week the Mt Canobolas fire, which threatened homes and prompted two emergency warning alerts, burnt under very high fire danger conditions.” The fire danger rating and bans will be announced at 4pm.