RSF warns of high fire risk over Christmas 

With blistering temperatures forecast during the holidays and the landscape already bone dry, the Rural Fire Service is urging residents of the Mid-Western Region to double their efforts to prevent fires and to remain vigilant for signs that a bush fire may have started.

“We are already seeing a number of grass and scrub fires – nine so far in December alone – but so far this region has escaped the serious bush fires that many parts of the state are experiencing,” said Superintendent Garry Barrett of the RFS Cudgegong District, which covers the Mid-Western Region.

“I want to thank everyone who is heeding our warnings about the extreme bush fire danger this year, and particularly the threat of grass fires as the lush growth across our district dries out.

“Without their help we could have been in much worse shape.

“This is a season when many city dwellers who have vacation blocks in our region come here to enjoy the bush.

“As these part-time residents tidy up their properties I would like to remind them of the special fire risks posed this year by activities like slashing or mowing.

“It’s worth remembering that the worst fire so far this month was caused by someone mowing.

“If you’re a full time resident and you have neighbours who come up for the holidays, why not have a chat with them about the importance of keeping up with each day’s fire danger rating, of having a Bush Fire Survival Plan and of avoiding activities that might start fires.”

Superintendent Barrett encouraged everyone to observe some simple practices that help prevent fires:

• Get a permit from the Rural Fire Service before burning off or starting other types of outdoor fire such as burning piles of brush or rubbish.

• Put fire breaks in place around assets and standing crops, as well as boundary fences.

• Check that your farm equipment is in good repair and ready to deal with a fire should

one occur.

• Be aware that when blades of slashers, mowers and similar equipment hit rocks or

metal, sparks can ignite dry grass.

• Pay attention to the weather. Avoid mowing or slashing in the heat of the day or when the winds are gusty, and don’t light a fire under these conditions even if you have a permit.

• Make sure you have a water source on hand when you mow or slash.

• Be careful to avoid starting a fire when you use angle grinders, welders or other tools that create sparks.

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