Severe weather outlook: Canobolas RFS firefighters concerned

OUTLOOK: There is an increased risk of heatwaves and bushfires in the region with firefighters concerned. Photo: FILE
OUTLOOK: There is an increased risk of heatwaves and bushfires in the region with firefighters concerned. Photo: FILE

IT'LL only take one spark and the Canobolas zone could very well see huge, out-of-control bushfires like the ones currently burning in northern NSW, one volunteer firefighter say.

There is an increased risk of heatwaves and bushfires across the region in coming months, the Bureau of Meteorology said in its severe weather outlook released this week.

Meteorologist Dr Adam Morgan said there was a higher than usual chance of extreme heat developing along with the deepening drought in inland areas from October to April.

"Large parts of Australia are extremely dry as we head into the warmer months, especially in the east where some areas have seen very little rain now for three years," he said.

"We expect the warm and dry trends to continue for the remainder of the year."

NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Canobolas zone operational officer Brett Bowden said firefighters in the region were concerned.

Record hot average Australia daytime temperatures for January - September 2019. Image: BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY

Record hot average Australia daytime temperatures for January - September 2019. Image: BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY

"We're now in the third year of drought, 2016 was the last good year for rainfall," he said.

Mr Bowden very large bushfire emergencies like the ones in northern NSW could very easily happen in the Canobolas zone.

Currently the bushfires include: the 104,000 hectare Bees Nest blaze at Armidale, the 74,000 hectare Long Gully fire at Tenterfield and 48,000 hectare Busbys Flat fire in the Richmond Valley.

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"The thing we've got to take from the fire activity in the northern part of the state is that a lot of the country around Tenterfield and Glen Innes is similar to what we have here and with a very similar land use," he said.

"It doesn't bode well for us going into the summer with predictions of above average temperatures.

"It's just going to be one spark really that sets something off and we could well have a similar situation as up north."

Mr Bowden said RFS firefighters will have to be more ruthless at "looking for and tracking down lightning strike fires".

He also urged the community to be hyper vigilant in ensuring any campfires and rural burn offs were adequately monitored and then extinguished.

The extreme lack of water due to the drought means RFS crews will also be adopting dry firefighting techniques.

Fourth driest January-September on record for Australia, and driest since 1965. Image: BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY

Fourth driest January-September on record for Australia, and driest since 1965. Image: BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY

So far this year Orange has received well below average rainfall with just 408.6 millimetres recorded to the end of September. The long term average is 676.5mm.

In Cowra 266.2mm of rain has been received which is well below the long term average of 435.5mm.

People in the Canobolas zone are urged to download a Bushfire Survival Plan now and to discuss with their family whether they will stay and defend their property during a fire or leave.

Stay up-to-date with fires in your area at the NSW Rural Fire Service's Fires Near Me website or app.

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This story One spark and the Canobolas zone could easily have a bushfire emergency first appeared on Blayney Chronicle.