NOBODY can afford another Black Summer.
After the horror bushfire season engulfed homes and took lives, Tamworth Rural Fire Service volunteers are out in force to clear fuels and protect the community.
The 2020 to 2021 fire season will be driven by vastly different factors to the last two, a Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC outlook reveals.
With a La Nina alert now active, large areas of eastern and northern Australia can expect wetter than average conditions through spring.
While they might help in the long term, they could lead to an increase risk of fast-running fires in grasslands and cropping areas come summer, Tamworth RFS superintendent Allyn Purkiss said.
"The year before last was dry with the drought, multiple Section 44's [a State of Emergency] and fires across the landscape," he said.
"We were busy for nearly four months and out most weekends, I don't think we had a week for four months without crews doing something.
"To be honest we hadn't gotten over the year before last."
Volunteer RFS teams have been out around East Tamworth clearing ground fuels to mitigate risk in the bushfire season.
Increased rainfall means there will be grass fuels and fuels back in the forest.
However, more moisture in the ground and in dams means fire behaviour will back off at night time, Mr Purkiss said.
"We are actively promoting our preparation all year-round now, we are preparing ourselves and making sure our trucks are ready and new volunteers are trained up," he said.
"We are praying it will be a normal season, you hope for the best and plan for the worst.
"We do expect it will turn dry, the grass will turn into fuel and we will be busy again but we hope the rainfall predictions are right."
The Australian Seasonal Bushfire report for September to November shows rainfall in large parts of the state over the last six months have reduced soil moisture deficits.
However, long-term rainfall deficits are still significant in the north and west, in places like Tamworth.
The bushfire forecast is normal for NSW across the next three months.
The fire danger could be escalated due to windy weather regardless of temperature where the grass has been cured by frosts.