Increase of grass fires for summer, Rural Fire Service warns

BE PREPARED: Rural Fire Service Mid Lachlan Valley Team manager Superintendent Ken Neville is expecting the number of grass fires to increase this summer. Photo: Christine Little
BE PREPARED: Rural Fire Service Mid Lachlan Valley Team manager Superintendent Ken Neville is expecting the number of grass fires to increase this summer. Photo: Christine Little

The NSW Rural Fire Service is warning farmers early there could be an increase of grass fires in store for the district during the summer period.

Mid Lachlan Valley Team manager Superintendent Ken Neville said farmers and land owners in particular need to be prepared.

"We are expecting the number of grass fires to increase this year, that's probably our biggest risk," he said.

"We're seeing a lot more growth this year, especially in comparison to last year, so there's a lot more fuel out there at the moment.

"Given the recent rain, we're expecting even more growth."

Grass fires move quickly and can cause a lot of damage, especially to farmers' livelihoods.

Superintendent Neville is urging land owners to prepare by clearing around their sheds and infrastructure, and by putting in firebreaks between crops.

"Firebreaks can help stop grass fires from spreading to valuable assets such as crops, livestock or buildings," he said.

"Work with your neighbour to construct the most effective firebreaks.

"Keep grass short, mow and graze or plough around crops, valuable assets and fence lines to prevent fire escaping from your property and to reduce the likelihood of fires entering."

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Superintendent Neville said land owners also need to be mindful of strong wind conditions.

"If we continue seeing wind conditions such as what we have been, then that intensifies the risk," he said.

"Windy conditions on days of low humidity and high temperatures can make fires spread very quickly."

It's also crucial for land owners to have up-to-date bush fire survival plans prepared.

"It is vital that you have a plan so you and your family will know what to do when a grass fire is close by," Superintendent Neville said.

"Even the most seasoned farmer can be caught out by the speed of a grass fire."

Notification of burn offs can now also be made online through the link: www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/notify

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