The Bureau of Meteorology has finally confirmed an El Niño weather event for this summer, and with extreme, unseasonal heatwaves this week and bushfires already burning along the east coast, homeowners have been called on to prepare now for bush fire season.
The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) is urging homeowners to take five simple steps to reduce their bushfire risk:
– Trim overhanging trees and shrubs.
– Mow grass, get rid of the cuttings and have a cleared area around your home.
– Remove material that can burn around the home, such as door mats, wood piles and mulch.
– Clear out all debris and leaves from gutters.
– Prepare a sturdy hose or hoses that will reach all around your home.
NSW Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib said that after three years of widespread rain and flooding, people are being asked to turn their attention back to the risk of bush and grass fires.
“Recent research shows that 70% of people living in bush fire prone areas have some sort of plan for what to do during a fire, but worryingly fewer than half had done any preparation work on their property.
“The time to prepare is now, not when a fire is at your front door.”
RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers added that thanks to an extended period of wet weather and prolific growth, much of eastern Australia is now facing its worst grass fire risk in two decades.
“As the weather heats up and the landscape dries out, the threat of serious fires is quickly returning”, he said.
“RFS volunteers are already working hard to contain fires across the state, with crews responding to more than 2,000 bush and grass fires since the start of July.
“While our firefighters are doing everything they can, including undertaking hazard reduction burns and undergoing training, preparation is a shared responsibility and property owners need to do their part too”, Rogers concluded.