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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Preparation is key this fire season

This year’s fire season has started in a blaze.

NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) crews fought three fires within the Hunter Region at Martinsville, Kearsley and Ferodale late last month.

Another blaze roared for seven days at Crestwood-Lake Cathie in Port Macquarie, burning across 2,880 hectares of bushland and spreading smoke haze across the Hunter before finally coming under control on the weekend.

NSW RFS Hunter Valley District Manager, Superintendent Paul Best, says being prepared this season is key.

“We have a long and protracted fire season ahead,” he says.

“Given the dry conditions, people should be learning lessons from the fires we’ve already had this season and taking time to prepare their properties before a fire starts.”

According to Mr Best, preparing your property for the fire season is easier than you think.

“Simple things like cleaning your gutters, mowing your lawns and keeping grass trimmed around the property,” he says.

“Cut back trees that overhang the buildings and have a hose long enough to reach around your entire home.

“These are simple things you could do this weekend to help prepare your home for bushfires.”

Northern NSW communities that have been affected by bushfires will now be able to clean up faster following the introduction of a $7.2 million state and federal recovery package.

NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott MP, says the assistance will ensure that councils have the capacity to continue the important task of managing waste, and minimise disruption to the community.

“This funding will enhance the ability of Northern NSW councils to safely receive and dispose of potentially hazardous materials from the fire-affected properties,” he says.

According to the RFS, there are four simple steps to create a bushfire survival plan.

These include discussing what to do if a bush fire threatens your property; preparing your home for the season; knowing and understanding the bushfire alert levels; and staying up to date by keeping all bush fire information numbers, websites and apps.

 “If a fire starts near your home, you should stay up-to-date by visiting the RFS website, downloading the fires near me app and listening to local radio,” Mr Best adds.  

“For some fires you may receive a text message or phone call and you should follow the advice of that call or text.”

Visit rfs.nsw.gov.au for more information.

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