Storms moving across the region overnight on Thursday sparked a number of bushfires and made for a busy weekend for local Rural Fire Service (RFS) crews who responded to over a dozen incidents.
Most fires were in the southern part of Mid-Western Region, in the Rylstone area, along with near Windemere Dam, as well as a small grassfire on the Castlereagh Highway at Burrundulla on Friday night.
Those located in steep and rocky terrain made access difficult for crews and saw water bombing aircraft and Remote Area Firefighting Team (RAFT) personnel assisting.
By Monday all of these fires were considered contained with helicopters patrolling to keep an eye on the affected areas.
In addition to the bushfires Gulgong volunteers were also responded to a single vehicle MVA on Goolma Road which saw the road closed for a short time on Saturday morning.
It was only firefighters from the Cudgegong RFS District that have been kept busy recently, with crews from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service working on a number of fires in the Wollemi National Park, including at Mt Touwouwan near the Olinda area.
Near-fortnight of 30-plus days
Bushfires started by lightning strikes are unsurprising considering that Monday saw the end of a 13-day run of maximum daily temperatures peaking above 30°C in the local region.
Furthermore, most of the days topped out in the mid to high-30s with the peak being 38.3°C on Friday.
So far the average maximum temperature for January has been over 35°C.
However, Sunday saw the end of the sustained period of heat with thunderstorms overnight helping to cool conditions slightly – and locally, put 4.2mm in the rain gauges.
Monday then became the first day since Christmas Eve when the mercury stayed below the 30°C mark in Mudgee.
But this is only likely to be a brief reprieve with the warm days set to return again in middle of the week – albeit towards the lower end of the 30s – ahead of possible tops of over 35 for Saturday and Sunday.
- If you see an unattended fire call 000 (triple zero) immediately. Residents of fire prone areas are asked to consider making or re-checking their Bushfire Survival Plans, more information at www.myfireplan.com.au