Time to prepare as fires begin early

Photo: Kylie Pitt

Photo: Kylie Pitt

The fire season has come too early for some western Sydney residents.

Unseasonably warm weather and strong winds fuelled a grass fire on private property in Blaikie Road, Jamisontown, on Thursday and another on Copeland Street between the crossroads Phillip and Richmond Streets, in Kingswood (above) on Friday.

The Jamisontown fire burnt through eight hectares before it was contained. 

The other damaged buildings and cars in Kingswood. 

The fires in the Penrith area coincided with the RFS bringing forward its bushfire danger period by a month for a large portion of the state. 

Eight northern regions typically start their danger period on August 1, but this year the RFS has added 14 more local government areas from Byron Bay south to Kempsey and beyond, to account for the greater fire risk.

The bushfire danger period generally begins on October 1.

Meanwhile, Sydney had its warmest July day since 1990 with the mercury climbing to 25 degrees — almost nine degrees above average — on Thursday, July 30. 

Last year early-season fires in the Blue Mountains, Windsor, The Hills and elsewhere destroyed more than 200 homes and damaged another 120. 

Ms Sanders said at this time there were no plans to move the fire season in western Sydney unless conditions deteriorated.

‘‘The decision needs to be locally made because they know the conditions that they have out there,’’ she said.  

‘‘It’s going to be an ongoing assessment of the conditions [including the landscape, weather forecast and fuel] going forward.

‘‘It’s forecast for warmer than average days and no rainfall on the horizon.

‘‘We will make the call in September if more suburbs should have their fire season brought forward. 

‘‘But there is no guarantee that we will.’’

Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Stuart Ayres agreed. 

‘‘We have no desire to bring forward the bushfire period,’’ he said. 

‘‘Because it has been warmer and drier this year we have decided to bring forward the northern regions bushfire season.

‘‘Now is the time to get bushfire-season ready.’’

Laws came into effect on Thursday last week to allow residents in bushfire-prone areas to clear vegetation near their homes.

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