Hot summer brings grassfire threat

Issued: 30 November 2016

Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott and NSW Rural Fire Service (NSWRFS) Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons today warned the third wettest winter on record had increased the risk of fast-moving and dangerous grass fires.

Heavy rainfall across the state, including the wettest September on record, has resulted in significant vegetation growth, particularly in western NSW.

When this growth starts to dry there is the potential for more fuel and therefore an increased risk of grass fires.

"Tomorrow is the first day of summer and it is shaping up to be an extremely challenging season with hotter and dryer conditions expected across the state," Mr Elliott said.

"The Air-Crane 'Delilah', the C130 'Thor' the DC10 'Southern Belle' and the NSW RFS fleet of more than 100 aircraft are tremendous assets in supporting firefighting efforts, but the real heroes are our volunteers on the ground."

Commissioner Fitzsimmons said grass fires start and spread quickly, often moving three times faster than a bushfire, and can catch people off-guard.

"Everybody needs to know what they will do if faced with this type of emergency," Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.

"With a forecast of drier and warmer conditions than normal, it does not matter whether you live close to grass paddocks or to a bushfire prone area, you need to prepare for this fire season.

"Embers can travel great distances, across several properties and streets, even up to 30km in the worst conditions."

For more information on how to plan and prepare for fire check the NSW RFS website.