RFS warn residents to be wary during fire season

Despite the wetter weather over the last few months, the Rural Fire Service Mid Lachlan Valley are warning residents not to get complacent and be aware of the fire risk.

Mid Lachlan Valley RFS Acting District Manager Dave McNeill said there is the potential for grass fires for continue up to the end of the fire season.

"Even though we kicked off this season with lots of torrential rain and flooding that's led to increased crop loads and grass loading.

"We're only expecting average rainfall probably between now and the rest of fire season, so therefore there's a lot more crops. As soon as they cure then the risk of grass fires is quite significant," Mr McNeill said.

The current storm activity is likely to continue, Mr McNeill said, which will increase the risk of lightning strikes across the region.

"The biggest challenge for us over the remainder of the season are lightning strikes while the crops are still in the paddock... because it's so unpredictable."

Mr McNeill said they have seen this season a grass fire ignite two weeks after a lightning strike hit a stump which remained smoldering despite being rained upon.

"That's one of the key recommendations to local farmers; keep an eye on paddocks after lightning goes through," he said.

The bushfire danger season will run through to March 31.

While they have seen an average number of header fires this year, Mr McNeill said farmers have become a lot better with managing the risks of header fires over the last few years.

"They're really alert to what's happening."

Mr McNeill said one of the main thing they want to stress to people is to have a plan, even if you live in or close to town.

Along with making a plan, the RFS urge motorists to be mindful of fires starting on the side of the road after cars pull over.

Incoming District Manager for the Mid Lachlan Valley RFS Mick Robinson said roadside ignitions are possible with the increased growth along the road.

Mr Robinson has been a member of the RFS for 21 years and has served across several districts, most recently in the North Western Area Command.

He will start in his role as District Manager at the end of January.

Mr Robinson's work in the RFS has been both volunteer and paid of the years and he has worked across several regions including the Riverina, up to Ballina and everywhere in between.

He has had a broad experience and understanding in fighting fires across mountainous regions, grasslands and coastal heaths.

Mr Robinson said some each type of fire had its challenges but mountainous and heath fires seemed to be some of the most challenging due to their conditions.

"Some of the coastal heath is [quite challenging] because it just burns underground, unknown, unseen and very difficult to extinguish."

Mr Robinson said the size of the Mid Lachlan Valley brings a broad range of terrain from cropping and grass land to mountainous terrain and national parks.

Among one of the reasons Mr Robinson cited as why he took on this position is that it is a natural step in his career working for the RFS and a drawcard that it is much closer to where his family lives.

What do you think?

Send a letter to the editor by filling out the online form below.

Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: