"Unlike a year ago, when tinder-dry conditions made bush fires the major threat, our primary concern this year is the risk of grass fires. These fires are potentially deadly because they burn so hot and can spread much faster than a bush fire," said Superintendent Troy Porter of the NSW Rural Fire Service Cudgegong District.
"That doesn't mean we can discount the threat of bush fires. In fact, Cudgegong District volunteers were called out this past weekend to battle a bush fire believed to have been started by lightning in a steep, heavily timbered gully behind homes on Green Gully Road."
The Green Gully fire was particularly difficult to contain because steep terrain made the site inaccessible to tankers. Crews supported by effective helicopter water-bombing had to walk in to the site and use hand tools to chop a containment line one metre wide around the fire.
Despite the rugged conditions, fire fighters were able by Sunday night to contain the blaze to just over half a hectare. No homes were threatened.
"This fire illustrates two things," Supt Porter said.
"First, although grass fires are our major concern this year, we can't discount the threat posed by bush fires. And second, although the wet weather and the land burnt last year have reduced this year's bush fire threat there is still a lot of unburnt timber in the bush and our spring rains have added new growth to bushland fuel loads.
"I'd like to urge residents across our Region make sure their families and their properties are prepared for this Bush Fire Danger Period. Four simple steps are all it takes [BELOW].
"If you, your home and your family are prepared you stand a better chance of surviving a bushfire. By visiting rfs.nsw.gov.au/plan-and-prepare you can find checklists to help with the four 'get ready' steps as well as a wealth of other fire safety information."
The four steps to prepare this fire season
- Discuss what to do if a bushfire threatens your home. Having this discussion over dinner can be good because your family is assembled and focused. Ask how fireproof your plan is and what you can do to make it better. Ensure everyone understands what to do.
- Prepare your home and get it ready for the bush fire season. Keep the grass cut low around your house and remove any debris near the house. Make sure your gutters are clean and you have enough hose to stretch around your house.
- Know the bush fire alert levels. If there is a fire in your area you will find its alert level on the NSW RFS website and in the 'Fires Near Me' app. You need to keep track of the alert level so you know what you should do.
- Keep all of your key bush fire information ready to access. This information ranges from the Triple Zero (000) emergency reporting line to the NSW RFS website, the 'Fires Near Me' app, the facebook.com/nswrfs and twitter.com/nswrfs addresses and news media such as local radio, local ABC radio, local TV and local newspaper addresses.
There's an upgraded app for that
The Cudgegong RFS District is encouraging locals to download the Emergency Plus app, which helps emergency services find you after calling Triple Zero (000).
The free app now features @what3words, so callers can describe their exact location in an emergency, quickly and easily, with three words. Along with street address and GPS coordinates.
Every three-metres-square in the world has been given a what3words address so you can alert emergency services with a unique three-word combination.
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