Extreme bushfire season expected

A lack of rain combined with westerly winds has produced a toxic mix for firefighters who are warning this fire season will be extreme.

Rural Fire Service Lower Hunter zone manager Superintendent Jayson McKellar said conditions were on par with the middle of last summer when firefighters had one of their busiest seasons in decades.

Firefighters have already battled several grass fires across the state this month.

Three RFS crews and one Fire and Rescue NSW crew responded to a grass fire off Metford Road in Tenambit on Saturday at 4pm.

Superintendent McKellar said it was difficult for trucks to access the site so firefighters had to walk around the fire to contain it.

Three hectares of land was burnt before it was controlled.

Fifteen minutes later another three RFS units were called to a Medowie scrub fire, which engulfed two hectares of land. 

Fire investigations were trying to determine the cause of both fires yesterday. Arson has not been ruled out.

Superintendent McKellar warned landholders to start preparing their homes and properties.

“The whole region is very dry, we are at that time of year when the westerly winds are drying things out and that makes these sorts of fires more of a problem just like they would be if we were in the middle of summer,” he said.

“We can’t rely on waiting for rain, we have to start preparing now, and we are doing as much hazard reduction as we can when we get a break in the weather.”

Superintendent McKellar said the RFS burned 12 hectares in Nelson Bay that backed onto homes on Saturday.

Crews also assisted a landholder at Vacy with a hazard reduction burn yesterday to ensure it did not get out of control.

Another landholder at Eccleston burnt about 400 hectares on Friday under the guidance of the RFS.

“People need to make sure their yard is tidy, that they are keeping their lawn mowed and trimming plants,” he said.

Anyone considering hazard reduction must contact the RFS.

EARLY START: Firefighters battle a fire in bushland at Tenambit, near the Beryl Humble Sports Complex, on Saturday.

EARLY START: Firefighters battle a fire in bushland at Tenambit, near the Beryl Humble Sports Complex, on Saturday.