THE Far North Coast, South Coast and the northern ranges are all being closely monitored by fire authorities, with the dry sub-soil conditions a cause for concern.
Although the country is still in the middle of winter, the recent Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook is a timely reminder that the fire season is just around the corner, which started in August for some places in 2019.
The quarterly report is be used by fire authorities to make strategic decisions around resource planning and fire management.
Large parts of NSW west of the Great Dividing Range have experienced welcome rain since March, which has increased soil moisture in these areas.
However, long-term rainfall deficiencies remain right across the state.
In particular, the dry sub-soil conditions on the northern ranges, far north coast and south coast are of concern, and these areas are being closely monitored.
Due to ongoing dry conditions and a reduced chance of above average rainfall, an above normal fire potential is expected for the south coast for this time of year in areas unburnt after last season's fires.
However, should a significant rain event, which has been forecast for mid-July, affect the south coast, it will likely decrease the fire potential for the outlook period.
In spite of dry conditions, normal fire potential is expected for the northern ranges and far north coast due to an increased chance of above median rainfall in these areas
With a La Nina watch alert, the rainfall outlook appears favourable for much of the state.
While the bushfire outlook on the balance of the forecast is normal for most of NSW for the winter period, there is a need to monitor for unusual weather events, particularly windy conditions, that occasionally present during this period.
The grass fire risk will continue to be monitored west of the Great Dividing Range over the coming months.
Recent and forecast rain, combined with warmer than average temperatures, may provide ideal growing conditions for grassland areas.
Although this is potentially good news, this spring growth has the potential to increase grassland fuel loads as it dries through summer. Since April, fire management in NSW has focused on hazard reduction.
Where weather permits, NSW fire and land management agencies will continue to undertake hazard reduction burning in the coming months.
Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud said all Australians had to prepare for another tough bushfire season.
"According to the report, the first half of 2020 has seen more rainfall in some parts of the country," Mr Littleproud said.
"While this rain is very welcome it will lead to strong grass growth that, once the grass dries, could pose a significant fire risk."
Mr Littleproud said it was important for households to start thinking about their fire plan now and what they have to do if they need to evacuate.
"With memories of last summer's horror bushfire season still fresh in our minds, all Australians, especially in the high-risk areas outlined in the report, should be planning to protect their family and property," Mr Littleproud said.
"Talk to your neighbours, ask them about their evacuation plan and let them know about your plan.
"If we work together and look out for each other, we'll get through the bushfire season."