Eleven local government areas began their Bushfire Danger Periods a full month earlier than expected last week, ahead of a summer that many fear could be catastrophic.

Dry conditions and rainfall deficiencies have brought about an increased fire risk, after wet weather over the last three years saw an abundance of growth, according to the RFS.

“As we move out of this incredibly wet period, the bushfire risk is returning to NSW,” said RFS Commissioner Rob Rodgers.

“Since the first of August firefighters have responded to more than 2,031 bush and grass fires compared to 638 for the same period last year.”

For the three-month period beginning May 2023, the severe rainfall deficiency has been in the lowest 5% of rainfall observations since 1900 in areas across eastern NSW. Totals in the lowest 10% of observations since 1900 also include the areas of inland NSW. Significant lack of rainfall has contributed to potential fuel sources for bushfires.

Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib has warned the public of heightened risks this upcoming bushfire season and how precautions must be made.

“Preparing for the season is a shared responsibility, and everybody needs to think now about their plan and preparation as we head into the bushfire season,” said MP Dib.

“As the weather heats up, it’s time to take simple steps like reducing vegetation around properties and cleaning gutters to reduce the amount of fuel.”

  • From 1 September, the following local government areas are to begin their Bushfire Danger Period one month earlier than usual: Tamworth, Bogan, Coonamble, Walgett, Warren, Moree, Gwydir, Narrabri, Gilgandra, Warrumbungle, and Midwestern.
  • From the first of September, these LGAs also began their Bushfire Danger Period: Muswellbrook, Singleton, Kempsey, Nambucca, Mid-Coast, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Clarence Valley, Ballina, Byron, Tweed, Bellingen, Coffs Harbour, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley, Gunnedah, Liverpool Plains, Upper Hunter, Bega Valley, Eurobodalla, and Shoalhaven.
  • This is in addition to six LGAs — Armidale Regional, Walcha, Uralla, Glen Innes Severn, Inverell, and Tenterfield — that commenced on the 1 August.

Residents in these LGAs must apply for a permit to burn off and notify the relevant authorities 24 prior. Permits are free and available from your local Fire Control Center.

Image source: CSIRO
Map source: Bureau of Meterology